The Insider

November 15, 2010 at 10:11 PM

A top Marine Corps official today denied a report from the London Sunday Times that Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos was “really angry” over Britain's decision not to buy STOVL JSFs and sent British exchange pilots packing.

“That's absolutely, 100 percent, unequivocally false,” Lt. Gen. George Trautman, deputy commandant for aviation, told Inside the Navy today. “There is not a single grain of truth in [that]. Gen. Amos . . . he doesn't get angry, it's not his nature, and no U.K. exchange officers have been sent home or anything else.”

Last month, the British government announced in a major defense review that it would not buy STOVL F-35 and would instead purchase carrier variants.

-- Dan Taylor

November 15, 2010 at 7:20 PM

On Nov. 19, Lt. Gen. Mark Welsh, the CIA’s associate director for military affairs, will wrap up over two years of “exceptional service” to the agency, CIA Director Leon Panetta said today in a note to agency officials. Having earned a fourth star, Welsh is slated to take command of U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE).

Beginning this week, Panetta added, CIA officials will see a new three-star Air Force general walking the halls: Lt. Gen. Kurt Cichowski. Effective Nov. 22, Cichowski will officially take over associate director for military affairs. Cichowski previously served as vice commander of Air Force Special Operations Command.

-- Chris Castelli

November 15, 2010 at 7:05 PM

The Marine Corps today announced it is looking to put wind turbines on 10 bases around the United States.

The service released a draft programmatic environmental assessment detailing its plans. From the document:

The proposed action is to site, design, construct, and operate small-scale wind energy projects on USMC 28 facilities at a variety of locations throughout the United States. The design of a small-scale wind energy 29 project would include the number, locations, and sizes of wind turbines for a project site. These 30 parameters would be chosen based on, for example, the capital cost of the wind turbines, the area 31 available for siting the wind turbines, a facility’s power demand, the specific requirements of the local 32 electricity distribution system, or a combination of the four. The number of turbines installed at any 33 given project site would range from a single turbine to four turbines. Thus, the PEA addresses the federal 34 action of wind turbine construction in the context of limited numbers of turbines and specified size range 35 category of turbines defined in this document: small (

The following bases are considered priority sites for the plan:

  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Brooklyn, New York (NY) 41
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Galveston, Texas (TX) 1
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Syracuse, NY 2
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Great Lakes, Illinois (IL) 3
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Battle Creek, Michigan (MI) 4
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Riverton, Utah (UT) 5
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Omaha, Nebraska (NE) 6
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Kansas City, Missouri (MO) 7
  • Marine Corps Reserve Center, Amarillo, TX 8
  • Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California (CA)
0.1> -- Thomas Duffy
November 15, 2010 at 6:54 PM

The Air Force is touting its first-ever "renewable energy industry day," set for Irving, Texas, next month:

Air Force officials, including Mr. Terry A. Yonkers, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, and Major General Timothy A. Byers, the Air Force Civil Engineer, will be on hand to provide details about opportunities for renewable energy development. Particular focus will be paid to projects that may be developed through third-party investments on installations using Power Purchase Agreements or Enhanced Use Leases. The projects must generate electricity that is competitive or cheaper than current grid rates.

“This is a unique opportunity for companies who specialize in renewable energy to gain a clear view of the Air Force program for development of renewable energy use,” said Mr. Ken Gray, Energy Rates and Renewables Branch Chief at the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency (AFCESA). “We are excited about the opportunity to learn more from industry and hear their suggestions on how to improve our efforts.”

With more than 40 renewable energy projects in operation, and dozens more planned, the Air Force continues to lead the federal government in reducing energy consumption and increasing supply. The Environmental Protection Agency recently recognized the Air Force for the seventh year in a row as the number one purchaser of green power in the federal government.

Details here.

Inside the Air Force recently noted the service is looking to a fuel savings as a way of meeting the Pentagon's "efficiencies" goals:

The service has been using the same safety margin supply of back-up fuel in their aircraft for the past 20 years, said Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements. He said officials are examining if it is possible to reduce to amount of reserve fuel stored in aircraft in an effort to save money. It would save fuel in the long run because a lighter aircraft requires less gas to fly.

Breedlove said he would not go into specifics on strategies for finding efficiencies because they have not yet been approved by top Air Force officials. They are examining some of the most "basic things" that can be done to save money from normal operations, he said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has spearheaded a call for all of the services to find budget efficiencies.

"In this case, this is sort of a straight-forward conversation that we can have and the beauty is that we believe all of the efficiencies that we make we will be able to, as a nation, reinvest in those accounts that will be restrained by flat-line budgets," Breedlove told reporters during a Nov. 4 breakfast in Washington. "I think . . . we support the secretary's effort here. We can do some things like I mentioned smarter and we hope to be able to roll those savings back into procurement accounts, which will be pressured by flat-line budgets."

-- Dan Dupont
November 12, 2010 at 5:17 PM

The Council on Foreign Relations just released a task force study on U.S. options for future policy in Afghanistan. The council's report comes out a month before the Obama administration is set to complete a review of the war effort in that country.

According to a council statement, the study found "that the current approach to the region is at a critical point." It concludes that "for now, the United States should assume the lead, with the goal of encouraging and enabling its Pakistani and Afghan partners to build a more secure future. Yet even the United States cannot afford to continue down this costly path unless the potential for enduring progress remains in sight. After nine years of U.S. war in the region, time and patience are understandably short." Further:

While the Task Force offers a qualified endorsement of the current U.S. effort in Afghanistan, including plans to begin a conditions-based military drawdown in July 2011, the Obama administration's upcoming December 2010 review should be "a clear-eyed assessment of whether there is sufficient overall progress to conclude that the strategy is working." If not, the report argues that “a more significant drawdown to a narrower military mission would be warranted.”

The Task Force, chaired by former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage and former national security adviser Samuel R. Berger, and directed by CFR Senior Fellow Daniel S. Markey, notes that nine years into the Afghan war, the outcome of the struggles in the region are still uncertain and the stakes are high. "What happens in Afghanistan and Pakistan matters to Americans," affirms the report. It warns that "militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan pose a direct threat to the United States and its allies. They jeopardize the stability of Pakistan, a nuclear power that lives in an uneasy peace with its rival, India."

The Task Force supports the U.S. investment in a long-term partnership with Pakistan, but underscores that it is only sustainable if Pakistan takes action against all terrorist organizations based on its soil. Concrete Pakistani actions against terror groups "are the bedrock requirements for U.S. partnership and assistance over the long run." In Pakistan, "the United States aims to degrade and defeat the terrorist groups that threaten U.S. interests from its territory and to prevent turmoil that would imperil the Pakistani state and risk the security of Pakistan's nuclear program."

The Task Force notes that these goals are best achieved through partnership with a stable Pakistani state, but that "the challenge of fighting regional terrorist networks is compounded by the fact that Pakistan draws distinctions between such groups." Flood-ravaged Pakistan also faces "enormous new stresses on the state—already challenged by political, economic, and security problems—increasing disaffection among its people, and weakening its ability to fight extremists in its territory."

In Afghanistan, "the United States seeks to prevent the country from becoming a base for terrorist groups that target the United States and its allies and to diminish the potential that Afghanistan reverts to civil war, which would destabilize the region." Afghanistan faces the challenges of "pervasive corruption that breeds the insurgency; weak governance that creates a vacuum; Taliban resilience that feeds an atmosphere of intimidation; and an erratic leader whose agenda may not be the same as that of the United States."

The report's top recommendations, according to the council statement, are:


-"To further enhance Pakistan's stability, the United States should maintain current levels of economic and technical assistance to help military and civilian leaders reconstruct and establish control over areas hard-hit by the flood, including those contested by militant forces." The Task Force recommends "continued and expanded training, equipment, and facilities for police, paramilitaries, and the army."

-"To reinforce U.S.-Pakistan ties and contribute to Pakistan's economic stability in the aftermath of an overwhelming natural disaster, the Obama administration should prioritize—and the Congress should enact—an agreement that would grant preferential market access to Pakistani textiles."

-"As it cultivates a closer partnership with Islamabad . . . the United States still needs to seek a shift in Pakistani strategic calculations about the use of militancy as a foreign policy tool. Washington should continue to make clear to Islamabad that at a basic level, U.S. partnership and assistance depend upon action against LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba], the Afghan Taliban, especially the Haqqani network, and related international terror groups."


-"In Afghanistan, core American security aims can best be achieved at a lower cost if the United States manages to shift a greater burden to Afghan partners," explains the Task Force. "The United States should encourage an initiative with three complementary elements: political reform, national reconciliation, and regional diplomacy."

-"Political reforms should aim to grant a greater voice to a broader range of Afghan interests," states the Task Force. "Rather than leaving the reconciliation process to [Afghan] President Karzai and his narrow support base, Washington should participate fully in guiding a broad-based, inclusive process, bearing in mind that a rapid breakthrough at the negotiating table is unlikely. Afghan reform and reconciliation should then be supported by a regional diplomatic accord brokered by the United States."

-"To foster Afghanistan's viability as a security partner, the United States must continue to build cost-effective Afghan security forces appropriate to the capabilities necessary to protect the population. This will require more army and police trainers, as well as an expansion of community-based stabilization forces."

-"Afghanistan needs a self-sustaining foundation for generating jobs and revenue that will reduce dependence on international assistance. To meet this need, the United States should encourage private sector investment in Afghanistan's considerable mineral and energy resources, its agricultural sector, and in the infrastructure needed to expand trans-Afghan trade."

Another recent study on the region, this one a "Year in Review" from the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, finds that leadership and training deficiencies are the main challenges for NATO trainers as the security force nears the end of its first full year helping build the Afghan National Security Force, Inside the Pentagon reports this week:

The report comes as President Obama's proposed July 2011 draw-down of U.S. forces nears, and as the newly elected Republican-controlled House of Representatives prepares to define its goals for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The report, released Nov. 9, details the force's challenges, progress and goals in its aims to help the Afghanistan National Security Force professionalize and train its own forces.

"Assisting our Afghan partners to build an enduring and self-sustaining force remains a distinct challenge, and the attainment of the growth objectives for the next year is not assured," the report adds.

"There will continue to be leader shortfalls in the Afghan National Army, and some corrupt and inefficient leaders remain in the Army and Police," writes NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan commander Lt. Gen. William Caldwell in the report. "Attrition also is a constant challenge that undermines professionalization, delays growth, and degrades quality. NTM-A will support our Afghan partners to continue growth, build support and enabling forces, develop self-sustainable security systems and enduring institutions, and begin the process to professionalize the force."

-- John Liang

November 11, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Northrop Grumman has thrown its hat into the competition to build the Next Generation Aegis Missile, the company announced late this afternoon. According to a company statement:

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is highlighting its deep experience on early intercept of ballistic missile threats to compete for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) next-generation ballistic missile interceptor currently planned for fielding in 2020.

The company announced that it has submitted a proposal for the Next Generation Aegis Missile's (NGAM) concept definition and program planning phase set to get underway in 2011. The new interceptor will be designed to provide early intercept capability against some short-range ballistic missiles, all medium range ballistic missiles, all intermediate range ballistic missiles and non-advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"This opportunity extends Northrop Grumman's long partnership with MDA to enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense System with an earlier intercept capability that helps achieve a layered missile defense," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president and general manager, Strike and Surveillance Systems Division for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

"We will apply our team's complete set of tools, techniques, trade studies, lessons learned and investments to help MDA achieve its vision for the phased adaptive approach to missile defense," Dufresne added. "We also bring to bear our corporate expertise and capability in Aegis shipbuilding and naval systems to ensure a smooth land-to-sea transition. Our approach emphasizes an objective analysis of NGAM's mission needs with emphasis on affordability, quality, producibility and risk reduction to define a sweet-spot solution."

Inside Missile Defense reported in September that MDA had identified $1.4 billion in the Pentagon's six-year budget plan for the Next Generation Aegis Missile (NGAM) program. Specifically:

In answers to questions submitted to MDA after a July 29 industry day with agency Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, which were recently posted on Federal Business Opportunities, MDA writes that the $1.4 billion "figure that LTG O'Reilly mentioned was referring to the funding within MDA's POM12 budget for the Product Development Phase (covering years FY12-16). The number is a requested amount. No funds for FY-12 have been appropriated yet."

MDA anticipates contract awards for the NGAM program "in the second quarter of FY-11," the document states. When asked about the "technology maturation contact awards time line vs. the concept definition time line," MDA responds: "We intend to award additional technology maturation contracts in FY-11."

As to a question about the "funding stream," the agency answers: "The planning profile for this effort includes approximately $130 million between the years of FY11-13. The profile is notional and may change. It is roughly linear." However, the next question asks whether there is $45 million available "per year or total" for the concept definition and technology development phase, to which MDA responds: "The planning profile for this effort includes $135 million between the years of FY11-13. The profile is notional and may change."

According to a set of MDA briefing slides presented at an Oct. 13 NGAM pre-proposal conference, all industry proposals are due tomorrow.

-- John Liang

November 11, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Highlighting our recent score of numerous Congressional Research Reports again today (we've already looked at one on open-source intelligence and another on lead systems integrators).

We've also obtained one on specialty metals. In that Oct. 5 report, CRS notes:

Effective July 2009, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a final rule to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement Section 842 of the FY2007 National Defense Authorization Act and Sections 804 and 884 of the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 110-181. The FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 110-181) contained several provisions which may impact the procurement of specialty metal. Section 803 required the Strategic Materials Protection Board to perform an assessment of the viability of domestic producers of strategic materials; Section 804 changed the requirement that DOD procure all specialty metal from domestic sources. This provision does not apply to contracts or subcontracts for the acquisition of commercially available “off-the-shelf” items (with certain exceptions), as defined in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act, Section 35(c); and Section 884 requires DOD to publish a notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website before making any "nonavailability" determinations that would apply to multiple contracts.

The specialty metal provision raises several questions, among them: (1) to what extent do United States national security interests and industrial base concerns justify waiver of the specialty metal provision, (2) if the United States does not produce a 100% domestic specialty metal, should DOD restrict procurement from foreign sources, and (3) what factors should drive the determination of which specialty metals should fall under the specialty metal provision? Debate over the specialty metal provision invites and renews a debate over the efficacy of domestic source restrictions and whether the rationale for every restriction represents a balanced and reasonable approach.

Before listing the possible options for Congress, the report states:

It is important to note that the specialty metal provision in the Berry Amendment had been in place since 1972. Any change in the law will likely have both upstream and downstream effects. How will the change affect prime contractors and subcontractors on the second, third, and fourth tiers, as well as U.S. domestic suppliers? It may take some time for DOD to implement the change in policy.

Consequently, CRS lists six possible options for policymakers to consider:

(1) eliminate the specialty metal provision, or eliminate the Berry Amendment;

(2) combine the Berry Amendment and the Buy American Act into one statute;

(3) enforce a new specialty metal provision;

(4) limit the inclusion of non-compliant specialty metal;

(5) require more congressional oversight; and

(6) convene a blue-ribbon panel, a "Specialty Metal Commission."

Inside the Pentagon reported in June that the Congressional Steel Caucus had sent Defense Secretary Robert Gates a letter, dated May 5, urging the Pentagon to use only American steel in the production of armor for troops and vehicles and to revamp rules that permit the use of imported steel. ITP interviewed DOD industrial base chief Brett Lambert for that article. From the story:

If there are recommended changes, the Pentagon would want to examine any proposals closely to ensure it will be able to maintain the required MRAP production rate of 1,000 per month, Lambert told ITP. The vehicles are considered essential for protecting troops from improvised explosive devices, the No. 1 cause of fatalities and casualties among U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has sent Capitol Hill a brief reply acknowledging it received the May 5 letter and noting there would be further follow up, but the department has not yet provided a substantial response, a congressional source said.

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), the caucus' vice chair, and 35 caucus members signed the letter, which expressed "deep concerns" about a DOD regulation that affects the procurement of steel armor plate.

"We believe that this regulation jeopardizes the safety of our troops and increases our reliance on imported steel, to the detriment of our national security and the American industrial base," the lawmakers wrote.

At a March 25 hearing on the state of the steel industry, the caucus discussed the Specialty Metals Amendment, as originally included under the Berry Amendment in 1973. The Specialty Metals Amendment aims to ensure that American steel is used to protect U.S. troops, and that American steel producers have the incentive to invest in the technology, capacity, and research and development to meet DOD needs, the letter states.

To view other CRS reports we've obtained, click here.

-- John Liang

November 11, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Once NATO establishes its new "Strategic Concept" sometime this coming summer, the Defense Department should re-evaluate the way DOD supports the alliance's Partnership for Peace initiative, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

"NATO's new Strategic Concept is expected to highlight the importance of the PfP and other NATO partnerships, and discuss ways to strengthen them further," the report, dated Sept. 30 but released this week, states. The Pentagon supports the goals of the PfP program via the Warsaw Initiative Fund (WIF), according to GAO. Further:

The changing composition of countries participating in the PfP program has affected the budget and focus of the WIF program, which supports the participation of PfP countries in military exercises and military contact programs. The decline in the number of countries in the PfP program contributed to a drop in average annual WIF funding from about $43 million in fiscal years 1996 through 2005 to about $29 million in fiscal years 2006 through 2010, according to a DOD official. Moreover, WIF funding is no longer concentrated on PfP countries aspiring to join NATO, as it was in the initial years of the program. In 2006, DOD established the Defense Institution Building program as a key focus of the WIF program to help PfP countries develop more professional and transparent defense establishments. Planned activities included assisting with strategic defense reviews; and developing defense planning, budgeting, and resource management systems, among others. DOD has encountered challenges implementing this program, including potential duplication with other U.S. assistance in some countries and limited interest from other countries, which have contributed to frequent cancellations of planned activities. DOD has not formally evaluated the WIF program since 2001, although there have been changes since then in the composition of participating countries and the focus of the WIF program.


GAO recommends that, following the establishment of NATO's new Strategic Concept, which could result in changes to NATO's PfP program, the Secretary of Defense conduct an evaluation of the U.S. WIF program to ensure that it effectively supports the goals of NATO's PfP program. DOD concurred with the recommendation.

-- John Liang

November 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

An Army spokeswoman told today that she doesn't believe the service's stalled Tactical Wheeled Vehicle strategy will be published until the end of the month.

“I don't think the strategy is solid but we have been working through the staffing process of the documents that support the strategy rollout (press release, talking points, etc.),” according to an e-mail from Army spokeswoman Alayne Conway. “I have asked the question about timing but still awaiting the answer. Realistically, I don't think we will see it until the last week of Nov[ember].”

As we've reported, the Army G-8 prepared the strategy for release at the end of October, but put its publication on hold after senior leaders protested.

We've got what was completed right here.

"We showed it to senior leaders. We thought we did OK. And I don't think they liked the way we presented it,”Army chief programmer Lt. Gen. Robert Lennox told reporters Oct. 26. “I don't think they liked the way we were telling the story. We're going to go back and redo it.”

The TWV strategy is expected to address the Army's future plans for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle as well as a potential humvee recapitalization program.

Industry is also awaiting the release of the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle request for proposals, which was initially scheduled for publication at the end of last month. “The Army intends to release a revised RFP for a new Ground Combat Vehicle very soon,” Conway wrote. “Though the revised RFP is still in the final stages of [Defense Department] approval, the Army is confident that this detailed process will result in a successful partnership with industry based on an affordable and achievable acquisition program.”

Meanwhile, the co-chairs of the Obama administration's special deficit reduction commission have released a draft proposal calling for the termination of both the JLTV and GCV.

-- Tony Bertuca

November 10, 2010 at 8:01 PM

A recent Congressional Research Service report highlights the challenges facing the U.S. intelligence community in the 21st century. The Oct. 14 report notes that "congressional and executive branch initiatives have sought to improve coordination among the different agencies and to encourage better analysis. In December 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458) was signed, providing for a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with substantial authorities to manage the national intelligence effort. The legislation also established a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency."

Further, the report states:

Making cooperation effective presents substantial leadership and managerial challenges. The needs of intelligence "consumers" -- ranging from the White House to Cabinet agencies to military commanders -- must all be met, using the same systems and personnel. Intelligence collection systems are expensive and some critics suggest there have been elements of waste and unneeded duplication of effort while some intelligence "targets" have been neglected.

The DNI has substantial statutory authorities to address these issues, but the organizational relationships remain complex, especially for Defense Department agencies. Members of Congress will be seeking to observe the extent to which effective coordination is accomplished.

International terrorism, a major threat facing the United States in the 21st century, presents a difficult analytical challenge, vividly demonstrated by the attempted bombing of a commercial aircraft approaching Detroit on December 25, 2009. Counterterrorism requires the close coordination of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but there remain many institutional and procedural issues that complicate cooperation between the two sets of agencies. Techniques for acquiring and analyzing information on small groups of plotters differ significantly from those used to evaluate the military capabilities of other countries. U.S. intelligence efforts are complicated by unfilled requirements for foreign language expertise. Whether all terrorist surveillance efforts have been consistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) has been a matter of controversy.

Intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was inaccurate and Members have criticized the performance of the intelligence community in regard to current conditions in Iraq, Iran, and other areas. Improved analysis, while difficult to mandate, remains a key goal. Better human intelligence, it is widely agreed, is also essential.

Intelligence support to military operations continues to be a major responsibility of intelligence agencies. The use of precision-guided munitions depends on accurate, real-time targeting data; integrating intelligence data into military operations challenges traditional organizational relationships and requires innovative technological approaches. Stability operations now underway in Afghanistan may require very different sets of intelligence skills.

One particular skill set the Defense Department wants to nurture is the gathering of open-source intelligence. Inside the Pentagon reported last month that DOD is requiring defense agencies, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the combatant commands to file yearly reports on their efforts to mine information from foreign newspapers and other media. The requirement came via new guidance signed by the acting under secretary of defense for intelligence. Further:

DOD instruction No. 3115.12, which went into effect Aug. 24, lays out a series of individual status reports to be filed by the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the COCOMs and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The instruction also establishes the Defense Open Source Council as the "primary governance mechanism" for DOD's open-source intelligence. The council, which is chaired by a senior executive picked by the Defense Intelligence Agency, must also submit a status report to the under secretary of defense for intelligence, or USD(I), by Feb. 28 of each year.

This council's report will assess DOD's open-source intelligence programs and activities, and lay out issues that are hindering the programs' effectiveness and integration into DOD-wide or national programs. These annual reports will also prioritize recommendations concerning policy changes and other initiatives needed for improvement.

Defense officials interviewed by Inside the Pentagon said on a condition of anonymity that these new reporting requirements play an important role in the department's attempts to coordinate its open-source intelligence.

"There is an attempt to, through these reporting mechanisms, identify requirements that are common to defense intelligence that could be addressed at higher levels, at USD(I)," a defense official said.

Although the first reports are due Nov. 15 for the NSA and NGA, a second defense official said there may be some leniency because of the quick turnaround.

-- John Liang

November 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

What to do about North Korea will likely be one of the discussion items while President Obama attends this week's G-20 summit in Seoul.

With that in mind, the Council on Foreign Relations today released a "contingency planning memorandum" titled "Military Escalation in Korea," in which the council's Center for Preventive Action (CPA) Director Paul Stares "warns that a new crisis on the Korean peninsula is a serious risk and urges the United States to work closely with Seoul to monitor warning indicators in the North," according to a council statement. Specifically:

Further provocations by North Korea as well as other military interactions on or around the Korean peninsula carry the danger of unintended escalation, writes Stares. Moreover, changes underway in North Korea could precipitate new tensions and herald a prolonged period of instability that raises the possibility of military intervention by outside powers.

Stares analyzes potentially dangerous situations that could erupt due to the atmosphere of recrimination and mistrust that exists between North and South Korea; the possibility of provocative, domestically driven, North Korean behavior; and the potential for a troubled succession process in Pyongyang. He concludes that the United States has a strong and abiding interest in taking steps to prevent another Korean war and provides the following recommendations to reduce the risk of unwanted military escalation in the region.

-The United States and South Korea should continue to maintain their heightened vigilance through enhancements to their surveillance and intelligence-gathering capabilities. Particular attention should be paid to likely warning indicators, such as succession instability, notable anniversaries and dates, and missile and nuclear tests.

-The United States should continue to reassure South Korea of its alliance commitments and also help it to fix certain defensive weaknesses identified in the wake of the investigation on the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010, which claimed the lives of forty-six sailors.

-A concerted diplomatic effort should be made to reduce tensions on the peninsula and to contain North Korea’s pursuit of additional nuclear weapons and long-range missile capabilities. Encouraging Beijing to restrain Pyongyang’s provocative behavior in the interests of regional stability must continue.

-- John Liang

November 9, 2010 at 8:51 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee just announced a hearing to consider a pair of combatant commander nominations next week.

On Nov. 18, Air Force Gen. Claude Kehler will appear before the committee for his nomination to lead of U.S. Strategic Command, succeeding (if confirmed) Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton.

Army Gen. Carter Ham will appear before the panel regarding his nomination to take over U.S. Africa Command, replacing Gen. Kip Ward.

-- John Liang

November 9, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Major defense acquisition efforts like the now-defunct Army Future Combat Systems project and the Coast Guard's Deepwater program -- both of which were run by a single contractor performing the role of a lead systems integrator -- have been raked over the coals by lawmakers for incurring delays and cost overruns. With those lessons in mind, a recent Congressional Research Service report outlines potential options for how LSIs could be used in the future:

• Reduce the possible need for LSIs by pursuing separate procurement programs rather than SOS programs;

• Require that certain conditions be met before a private-sector LSI can be used on an acquisition program (analogous to conditions set for use of the multi-year procurement program);

• Require that LSI arrangements include features to ensure transparency, prevent conflicts of interest, prohibit self-certification, require independent assessments, and facilitate meaningful periodic competitions of the LSI role;

• Institute additional or stricter reporting requirements for programs being executed by LSIs;

• Require DOD and other federal agencies to share lessons learned regarding programs executed with private-sector LSIs;

• Prohibit the use of private-sector LSI’s in future acquisition programs;

• Reduce the possible need for private-sector LSIs by building back up the defense civilian and military acquisition workforces, and have DOD assume the role of the LSI, and require that DOD manage all SOS programs; and

• Implement the recommendations of the recent Gansler Commission on improving the acquisition workforce.

-- John Liang

November 9, 2010 at 5:44 PM
While the Army has identified lashing together its disparate communications network as its top modernization priority, it has lost one of the top generals charged with making it happen.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the service's chief information officer, retired Nov. 5 after more than three years as the Army CIO/G-6 and 37-plus years with the Army, according to a statement from his office.

Sorenson helped develop the architecture for the Army's Land Warfare Network -- the service's component of the Defense Department's Global Information Grid. “We have come a long way to reshape the network enterprise strategy,” he was quoted saying in an Army statement. “And I believe the CIO/G-6 is on the cusp of delivering significant network capabilities to the warfighter through all our enterprise initiatives.”

Several months ago, Sorenson's office held the “Apps for the Army” contest in which civilian and service personnel competed to develop the best software applications. The competition drew 140 entrants and Sorenson said the effort would go a long way toward defining the business processes by which the Army would develop and certify future software Army enterprise programs.

More recently, Sorenson's office announced the formation of the Army's Common Operating Environment Architecture, which was established to bring the service's stovepiped network under one set of requirements.

Sorenson's retirement ceremony was presided over by Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli and attended by more than 400 people, according to the statement.

Until a new CIO/G-6 is announced, Mike Krieger, Sorenson's former deputy, will serve as the acting CIO/G-6. Maj. Gen. Mark Bowman is the acting deputy.

-- Tony Bertuca

November 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Richard Kidd has become the Army's top official solely devoted to energy issues -- moving over from a key energy management job in the Energy Department at a time when service leaders are emphasizing a focus on energy efficiencies and other energy initiatives, Defense Environment Alert reports this morning:

Speaking during an Oct. 27 press conference just two days after assuming his new position as the Army's deputy assistant secretary for energy and partnerships, Kidd said the Army has an opportunity to lead on energy issues. No other federal agency can drive the agenda like the Army, he said, referring to the large number of buildings the Army owns. With the Army owning half the buildings in the Defense Department, it is highly unlikely DOD will meet its energy goals without the Army on-board with those goals, he said at a press conference at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, DC. Top Army officials including Army Under Secretary Joseph Westphal and Vice Chief of Staff Peter Chiarelli also spoke at the AUSA conference about energy security and energy goals of the service.

"With more buildings and more fuel burned in ground vehicles than any other federal entity, the Army has a tremendous opportunity to better use energy and expand operational flexibility through enhanced energy efficiency," Kidd said in an Oct. 27 press release on his appointment.

Kidd, who moved to the Army from his position as program manager of DOE's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), is responsible for designing and implementing the Army's strategic and operational energy policy. Kidd reports to Army Assistant Secretary for Installations, Energy & Environment Katherine Hammack, who has a strong background in energy and green buildings. Hammack was confirmed in her position in August. FEMP is responsible for facilitating cost-effective energy management in the federal government and investment practices to further energy security and environmental stewardship, according to a DOE website.

Hammack praised Kidd's appointment, saying in the press release that with Kidd's experience, "the Army will continue laying the groundwork and advance energy security and sustainability efforts in a meaningful and measurable way. With energy and renewables at the forefront of national policy, the time is right to have someone with his expertise."

During the press conference, Kidd also reiterated remarks by Westphal about the need for collaboration among federal agencies and within departments. Kidd stressed the need to ensure the many different efforts on energy in the Army, services and at DOE are aligned and not redundant or wasteful.

His appointment comes as DOD and the services are emphasizing energy issues, pushing more alternative and renewable energy sources and greater energy efficiencies, framing them as a national security matter. reported late last month that the Army had identified six critical areas in which it hopes to develop capabilities to support energy management required for combat operations, with service officials preparing to launch an Army-wide effort to refine its needs and reshape its investment plans to develop and acquire technologies designed to improve its efficiency in future missions:

The Army Capabilities Integration Center, part of the service's Training and Doctrine Command, has completed a draft of an initial capabilities document that fleshes out energy attributes and metrics, a first step toward realigning the service's materiel development efforts, science and technology investments and training in a bid to influence the Army's fiscal years 2014 to 2019 spending plan.

"Next, we plan to lay out an operational energy campaign plan," Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, head of the ARCIC, said Oct. 27 during a brief interview. The plan is being designed to both reassess current Army energy initiatives in light of the new requirements document as well as possibly launch new programs.

By harnessing new tools with potential to give commanders the ability to monitor energy status across the force, the Army hopes to convert its enormous need for fuel, water and electricity from a liability to an operational advantage, according to Vane. Through new methods of accounting for energy, the service aims to break with a long-standing practice of viewing it as an unconstrained resource that receives little attention in operational planning and adopt a holistic view of its requirements and utilization, Vane added.

To that end, the Army is about to circulate its draft operational energy initial capabilities document for comment to key leaders in the Pentagon and then "release it to the world," said Col. Paul Roege, special assistant to Vane for energy issues.

-- John Liang