The Insider

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September 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Hawker Beechcraft and Lockheed Martin are expected to announce this afternoon that they have teamed to pitch the AT-6B for the Air Force’s light-attack/armed reconnaissance aircraft competition.

Lockheed’s Systems Integration division in Owego, NY, will install the mission system used in the digitized A-10C in Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6B aircraft. The teaming arrangement comes as the service is reviewing responses to a capability request for information that was issued this summer.

The teaming arrangement will likely bolster the AT-6B proposal considering Lockheed has won a number of awards for its A-10 mission system -- which includes digital displays and hands on stick-and-throttle system.

Hawker Beechcraft flew its first AT-6B prototype earlier this summer. The company plans to install a larger engine in its second prototype aircraft, company officials said in interviews earlier this year.

-- Marcus Weisgerber

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September 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said today the Pentagon still prefers a single engine manufacturer for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, despite a failure during a recent test of the Pratt & Whitney F135 prime power plant.

“It hasn’t caused us to change our view on the second engine,” Donley said of the test failure last week. He did note that the service has not received details on the incident, but added that the test was in the final stages when the engine failed.

The failure comes as Congress is putting the finishing touches on the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2010 budget, in which the administration did not request funding for the G.E.-Rolls-Royce alternative power plant.

-- Marcus Weisgerber

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September 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The White House has announced Sean Stackley will continue serving as the Navy’s acquisition executive. The news is not a surprise: Defense industry sources anticipated Stackley would retain the post, which has the official title of assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. Stackley, a former congressional staffer, was tapped for the position in the twilight of the Bush administration.

Here’s his bio, as released by the White House:

Since July 2008, Mr. Stackley has served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. As the Navy’s Acquisition Executive, he is responsible for the development and procurement of Navy and Marine Corps platforms and warfare systems. Prior to his appointment, Stackley served as a Professional Staff Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he was responsible for overseeing Navy and Marine Corps programs, U.S. Transportation Command matters, and related policy for the Seapower Subcommittee. He began his career as a Surface Warfare Officer and has served in a range of Industrial, Fleet, Program Office, and Headquarters assignments in ship design and construction, maintenance, logistics, and acquisition policy. Stackley is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and also holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.

-- Chris Castelli

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September 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Government Accountability Office this week released a report finding that while U.S. Northern Command has made some progress in dealing with state governments when responding to emergencies, a good amount of work still needs to be done.

Specifically:

NORTHCOM faces challenges in involving states in the planning, conduct, and assessment of its exercises, such as adapting its exercise system and practices to involve other federal, state, local, and tribal agencies that do not have the same practices or level of planning resources. Inconsistencies with how NORTHCOM involves states in exercises are occurring in part because NORTHCOM officials lack experience dealing with states and do not have a consistent process for including states in exercises. Without such a process, NORTHCOM increases the risk that its exercises will not provide benefits for all participants, impact the seamless exercise of all levels of government, and potentially affect NORTHCOM’s ability to provide civil support capabilities.

Several lawmakers, in a joint statement released today, commented on GAO's report.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS):

NORTHCOM must work even harder to operate seamlessly with State, local, and tribal governments throughout the country. Anything less than total synergy and collaboration in our nation's disaster planning and exercise programs is unacceptable and avoidable. NORTHCOM has made progress over the years, but we shouldn't have to cross our fingers and hope the Command has strong relationships with an affected State, we should be able to count on it. The task of operating a military command for the United States is a difficult one that can be best achieved through strong partnerships with State National Guard Units and our State and local leaders.

Senate Guard Caucus Co-Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT):

It is concerning that GAO has determined that NORTHCOM, the lead command at the Department of Defense for national disaster planning, has not consistently involved states in large-scale disaster preparations. And perhaps even more troubling is that GAO concludes that NORTHCOM cannot ensure that it has met internal standards for planning and execution of joint exercises.

Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT):

NORTHCOM, like the Department of Homeland Security, is a new organization that has made great strides while navigating through difficult, uncharted waters. I am pleased that NORTHCOM has acknowledged the gaps in coordination that GAO found - which are certainly not unique to NORTHCOM - and I will be monitoring closely how they are resolved.

Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME):

Although NORTHCOM has made some progress in developing a comprehensive exercise program, this GAO report demonstrates that NORTHCOM needs to do more to collect and share lessons learned from those exercises and to ensure greater participation from other Federal, State, local, and tribal governments. I encourage General Renuart and DOD leadership to address these shortcomings in a timely fashion.

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO):

This report underscores the need for NorthCom to coordinate with and support the state and local officials and Guardsmen who know their own backyards better than anyone else," said Bond, co-chair of the Senate Guard Caucus. "The citizen soldiers and airmen in the National Guard are not only highly trained for disaster mitigation and homeland defense, but also are members of the impacted communities which they serve.

-- John Liang
 

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September 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

It's official: Brett Lambert is the Pentagon's new industrial policy chief. The Defense Department yesterday announced the appointment -- which Inside the Pentagon last month reported was in the works -- along with a handful of other moves to fill key Pentagon posts, including:

James A. Hawkins, major general (retired), has been appointed to the senior executive service and is assigned as deputy director for strategic logistics, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. Hawkins previously served in the U.S. Air Force with the commander, 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

David A. Honey has been appointed to the senior executive service and is assigned as director for research, Office of the under secretary of defense (acquisition, technology, and logistics), Washington, D.C. Honey previously served with Information Systems Laboratories, Vienna, Va.

William J. McCarthy has been appointed to the senior executive service and is assigned as deputy director, net-centric and space systems, office of the director, Operational Test & Evaluation, Washington, D.C. McCarthy previously served with New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, N.M.

In addition, the Defense Department announced three senior officials are being reassigned to other top posts:

Christine Condon has been assigned as principal director to the deputy assistant secretary of defense (resources)/director, congressional review and analysis, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration), Washington, D.C. Condon previously served as the director, congressional review and analysis, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration), Washington, D.C.

Donald L. Damstetter has been assigned as deputy director, property, plant and equipment policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Washington, D.C. Damstetter previously served as the director, resources, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operation/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities), Washington, D.C.

Robert J. Newberry has been assigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense for prisoners of war/missing personnel affairs and director, defense POW and missing personnel office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Washington, D.C. Newberry previously served as chief of staff, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

-- Jason Sherman

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September 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of former senior government officials released a statement on the interconnectedness between climate change and national security:

Climate change is a national security issue. The longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to mitigate and respond to its impacts. U.S. leadership alone will not guarantee global cooperation. But if we fail to take action now, we will have little hope of influencing other countries to reduce their own contributions to climate change, or of forging a coordinated international response.

Here at home, we must cut our own carbon emissions, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and develop and deploy clean, renewable energy sources that will generate economic growth. We must also help less developed countries adapt to the realities and consequences of a drastically changed climate. Doing so now will help avoid humanitarian disasters and political instability in the future that could ultimately threaten the security of the U.S. and our allies. But most importantly, we must transcend the political issues that divide us -- by party and by region -- to devise a unified American strategy that can endure and succeed.

We, the undersigned Republicans and Democrats, believe Congress working closely with the Administration must develop a clear, comprehensive, realistic and broadly bipartisan plan to address our role in the climate change crisis. WE MUST LEAD.

The former White House officials who put their names to it include national security advisers Samuel Berger, Anthony Lake, and Robert McFarlane; former Chief of Staff Kenneth Duberstein; former special counsel Ted Sorensen; and former CIA Director James Woolsey.

Former military officials: Former Defense Secretary William Perry; retired Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn, retired Adm. Joseph Prueher; and retired Gen. Charles Wald.

Former diplomats: Ambs. Warren Christopher; Donald McHenry; Thomas Pickering; George Schultz; John Whitehead; and Frank Wisner.

Former representatives and senators: Lee Hamilton (D-IN); Howard Baker (R-TN); John Danforth (R-MO); Slade Gorton (R-WA); Gary Hart (D-CO); Nancy Kassebaum-Baker (R-KS); Sam Nunn (D-GA); Warren Rudman (R-NH); and John Warner (R-VA); Tim Wirth (D-CO).

Other notable names: Rita Hauser, chair of the International Peace Institute; Richard Leone, president of the Century Foundation; former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills; and former Govs. Thomas Kean (R-NJ) and Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ).

-- John Liang
 

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September 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

French Air Force Gen. Stéphane Abrial will succeed U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis as NATO's supreme allied commander transformation (SACT) tomorrow in a ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) in port at Naval Station Norfolk, VA.

The SACT is charged with being NATO’s leading agent for change -- driving, facilitating, and advocating continuous improvement of alliance capabilities to maintain and enhance the military relevance and effectiveness of NATO, according to the alliance.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Abrial is one of two French generals to assume top NATO commands since French President Nicolas Sarkozy brought France back into NATO’s military structure in March.

"Now we are part of the club, and there’s no reason for any kind of mutual suspicion. It's much better to be inside than outside," Abrial told the newspaper.

The Daily Press reports Abrial is no stranger to the United States: He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1974 and the U.S. Air War College in 1992.

Mattis assumed the NATO post and the top job at U.S. Joint Forces Command on Nov. 9, 2007, when he took over both roles from Air Force Gen. Lance Smith. Mattis is slated to continue as JFCOM's commander.

-- Chris Castelli
 

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September 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The recently reconfigured Defense Policy Board is set to meet this week to take up a classified agenda, according to knowledgeable sources. The two-day gathering, which begins Wednesday and culminates with the group presenting findings to the defense secretary on Thursday, comes as the military is managing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as the Defense Department is hammering out a new 20-year blueprint for the entire military enterprise.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will likely hear some new perspectives on national security challenges from the 11 new members appointed in July.

The board is chaired by John Hamre, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and includes:

Richard Danzig, President Obama's national security adviser during the presidential campaign; former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel; journalist Robert Kaplan; John Nagl, director of the Center for New American Security; Rudy DeLeon, senior vice president at the Center for American Progress and a senior Pentagon official during the Clinton administration; Robert Gallucci, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the former dean of Georgetown University's foreign service school; Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and author of the recent book “7 Deadly Scenarios,” which recently impressed Gates; Steven Biddle, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations; Sarah Sewall, a human rights policy expert and a Harvard University professor; Wendy Sherman, a principal at the Albright Group who was a senior diplomat during the Clinton administration; Larry Welch, a retired Air Force general; David McCurdy, former Democratic Oklahoma congressman and co-author of 1982 landmark weapon system acquisition legislation; Frank Miller, a veteran Pentagon policy official; former defense secretaries Harold Brown, James Schlesinger and William Perry; former DOD official J.D. Crouch; Fred Ikle, the Pentagon's policy chief during the Reagan administration; Henry Kissinger, former President Richard Nixon's top diplomat; Marin Strmecki, senior vice president of the Smith Richardson Foundation; Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota; Vern Clark, retired admiral and former chief of naval operations; Jack Keane, retired general and former Army vice chief of staff; and Peter Pace, retired Marine Corps general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

-- Jason Sherman

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September 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Though the pending Quadrennial Defense Review could serve as a "powerful tool" in the Defense Department's strategy and planning, a new report warns that it "may be overly optimistic to hope for dramatic improvements as a result of President Obama's first QDR."

The report, titled "The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review: A+, F, or Dead on Arrival?" and authored by Erin Fitzgerald and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, argues that past QDRs have "been decoupled from meaningful budget figures, realistic force plans, honest procurement decisions, and metrics to measure the success of their recommendations.

"As a result of this strategy-reality gap between concepts and resources, they have had limited practical value," the document continues.

The report contends that a clear strategy is particularly required in the wake of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' program cancellations and cutbacks.

"The 2010 QDR has the potential to be the next step in the reform process and to institutionalize the reforms Gates initiated with his budget cuts," the report says. "It is unclear the extent to which it will realize its potential, given the scale of the need to make meaningful decisions, create an affordable force posture and plan, fund credible levels of manpower and readiness, fully restructure the Department’s failed procurement plans, and ((deal)) with the real world cost and program impact of two ongoing wars."

Additionally, producing a valuable QDR requires closely linking "central concepts to meaningful budget figures, realistic force plans, honest procurement decisions, and metrics to measures its success," the report contends.

In this review, it says, "((i))nstitutional inertia may be too powerful, and the tendency to issue another conceptual document that is not translated into operation((al)) realities may be too great."

-- Marjorie Censer

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September 4, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher told business groups last month that updating the products covered by the U.S. Munitions List and the Commerce Control List (CCL) is her top priority in an ongoing review of export controls launched earlier this month by the White House, Inside U.S. Trade reports today:

Removing items from these two lists that no longer need to face export controls has long been a priority of business groups. In order to export defense articles on the Munitions List, or the dual-use items on the CCL, exporters must obtain licenses.

Scrubbing these two lists was the only priority specifically mentioned by Tauscher on Aug. 25 in a private meeting with the Coalition for Security and Competitiveness (CSC), a leading industry group on export controls, according to sources. Tauscher also met separately with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which is a member of the CSC, the next day, sources said.

Sources said that Tauscher emphasized that this is a security review but the views of business associations are important. The process for public comment has not been decided on yet, she said.

Concerning the overall administration review, Tauscher made clear that the administration has not yet set a hard deadline for the end of the review, has not yet refined the scope of the review, and has not yet decided whether to seek legislative changes for some aspects of export control reform that cannot be done administratively, according to these sources.

However, inter-agency meetings have already occurred after the review was announced on Aug. 13, sources said. Tauscher said she would prefer a multistage approach.

“The review would put in place a process for regularly scrubbing the lists and the first scrub would take the longest,” one source said.

-- John Liang
 

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September 4, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The World Trade Organization today ruled in favor of the U.S. legal challenge against alleged subsidies provided by the European Commission to Airbus. Experts and government officials have long expected that the EC would be faulted at least in part for various types of aid it has provided to Airbus and its predecessor companies since 1969.

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion Blakey had this to say about the ruling:

AIA welcomes the World Trade Organization ruling today as reported in the press that the European government’s launch aid to Airbus is not consistent with its rules. This is a positive action to help ensure the long-term health of the global aerospace enterprise. While preliminary, the ruling provides much-needed guidance to WTO members that are involved in or considering entering into civil aircraft production.

AIA has long supported the U.S. government’s efforts to resolve this matter through the WTO dispute resolution process. Today’s ruling is an important step toward achieving a level and fair playing field that will allow the U.S. aerospace industry to flourish in the international marketplace.

Airbus' parent company EADS has partnered with Northrop Grumman to compete for the Air Force's next-generation tanker competition. This week, Northrop said political issues should not be injected into the tanker contest.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), however, has no problem injecting a political issue into the dispute. In a just-released statement, Dicks says:

What is also clear now is that it would be inconceivable for the Defense Department to issue its "Request for Proposals" for a new Air Force refueling tanker without including a provision which recognizes the ruling issued today by the WTO panel: that these Airbus airframes have benefitted from illegal subsidies that gave them an unfair advantage in global sales. The U.S. government cannot reward illegal market actions that have harmed U.S. manufacturers and stolen U.S. aerospace jobs. The tanker contract must be awarded on the basis of a level playing field, and because of today's ruling that means it must account for the direct and unlawful subsidies that have allowed Airbus to launch the A330 and other large civil aircraft without the risks that other manufacturers must assume.

For comprehensive coverage of the dispute, check out our sister Web site World Trade Online.

-- John Liang
 

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September 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The White House announced today that Thomas Paul D'Agostino will continue serving as under secretary for nuclear security of the Department of Energy and administrator for nuclear security of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Here's his bio, as released by the White House:

Thomas Paul D'Agostino was sworn-in on August 30, 2007 as the Undersecretary for Nuclear Security at the U.S. Department of Energy and the Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA's responsibilities include designing, producing, and maintaining safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons for the U.S. military, providing safe, militarily effective naval nuclear propulsion plants, responding to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad and promoting international nuclear safety and nonproliferation. Prior to serving as Administrator, Mr. D'Agostino served as the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs at NNSA and directed the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which is responsible for maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. He was also previously the Deputy Director for the Nuclear Weapons Research, Development, and Simulation Program where he directed the formulation of the programs and budget for the research and development program that supports the Stockpile Stewardship Program. He spent over eight years on active duty in the Navy as a submarine officer to include assignments onboard the USS SKIPJACK (SSN 585) and with the Board of Inspection and Survey where he was the Main Propulsion and Nuclear Reactor Inspector. D'Agostino earned his undergraduate degree from the United States Naval Academy, his masters in Business Finance from Johns Hopkins University and his masters in National Security Studies from the Naval War College as a distinguished graduate.

-- Chris Castelli

By
September 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The movement to persuade lawmakers and the public to think of energy and climate issues through the prism of national security is picking up new adherents, as activists step up pressure on the Senate to pass landmark legislation aimed at establishing controls for combating global warming and promoting alternatives to fossil fuels, Defense Environment Alert reports this week. Specifically:

Picking up on a growing push to paint climate and energy issues as national security questions, the Center for American Progress (CAP), an influential liberal think tank, Aug. 26 added its support to grassroots efforts to push the Senate to follow the House in passing sweeping climate legislation. CAP is headed by John Podesta, former Clinton White House chief of staff and co-chair of President Obama’s transition team.

CAP becomes the latest member of Operation Free, a coalition of activists and veterans associations seeking to raise awareness about the links between energy, climate and national security. Operation Free is headed by the Truman National Security Project, and includes veterans organizations VoteVets and VetPAC, the National Security Network, National Security Initiative and the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate Change (Defense Environment Alert, Aug. 18).

Operation Free later this month plans to lobby on Capitol Hill for greater Senate support of the pending climate legislation, a source with the coalition says.

CAP issued a report on climate change and energy security Aug. 25, calling for, among other steps, the widespread adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel. CAP points out that natural gas is abundant, sourced from more domestic sources than oil, and is less greenhouse gas intensive than other fossil fuels.

The Brookings Institution think tank also released a report Aug. 27 calling for DOD to give top billing to energy use cuts and alternative energy generation in its forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. The department should reduce its energy use by 20 percent by 2025, and be a “net zero” energy consumer -- generating as much power as it uses -- by 2030, according to the Brookings paper.

The grassroots push comes as former Sen. John Warner is lobbying senators in favor of giving the Senate Armed Services Committee jurisdiction over climate legislation, on the basis that climate change and energy policy will have a major impact on the military. Conflict exacerbated by climate change, and global warming itself, will affect the armed forces, and therefore the committee should have a say over the legislation, Warner argues.

-- John Liang
 

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September 2, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Air Force's desire to speed up the Massive Ordnance Penetrator program is driven partly by cost considerations, according to Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Karen Platt.

The effort to produce a large, conventional bunker-busting bomb to ride aboard U.S military bomber aircraft is expected to become a program of record later this year when Congress approves the fiscal year 2010 defense budget.

But air service officials don't want to wait that long. In early July, they asked lawmakers to allow the internal shift of $95 million toward MOP-related programs. The money is to pay for up to a dozen bombs, plus work required to integrate the behemoth onto the B-2 bomber, among other projects.

"Immediate funding allows continuation of current efforts, fully capitalizing on progress to date . . . allowing faster development at a lower end cost to the Air Force," Platt wrote in an e-mail this week.

Members of the Senate Armed Service Committee are expected to weigh the air service's argument for the reprogramming after the congressional recess next week. The other three defense committees have already approved it, according to Platt.

--Sebastian Sprenger

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September 2, 2009 at 5:00 AM

In case you missed it, the Pentagon's defense research and engineering office earlier this summer released a "Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) Deskbook" document that provides guidance on how to assess "the maturity of critical hardware and software technologies to be used in systems."

As the deskbook states:

The body of this document is a concise description of suggested best practices, responsibilities, roles, and procedures for meeting the TRA requirements. The appendixes are designed to amplify the material in the main body.

ACAT ID and IAM programs are expected to follow these best practices as a condition for certification. The processes outlined should also be used for other MDAPs. This Deskbook is intentionally generic and non-prescriptive. The Services and agencies, given their vast organizational structures, are encouraged to establish their own implementation guidance, approved and endorsed by the Component Science and Technology (S&T) Executive. Procedures should be based upon the principles, guidance, and recommended best practices contained in this Deskbook.

-- John Liang