The Insider

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January 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The White House held a "facilitated exercise" today for incoming Obama administration officials and senior staffers.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel late last week described the exercise as follows:

. . . And then next week, our work with the president-elect's transition team continues on Tuesday, January 13th, when we host a series of orientations and briefings, culminating with a facilitated exercise for senior, current and incoming officials. We are mindful that this is the first transition since September 11th and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the Homeland Security Council, Office of Director of National Intelligence, and the National Counterterrorism Center, and U.S. Northern Command.

So in keeping with the president's commitment to ensure a complete and smooth transition to the next administration, we have invited incoming senior members of President-elect Obama's team to attend 90-minute orientations and briefings, followed by a three hour exercise intended to familiarize the incoming administration with domestic and international instant management procedures used by the current administration. And the format of these sessions is intended to provide an opportunity for senior members of the incoming administration to discuss instant management practices and challenges with their outgoing peers.

The White House today released a statement listing the participants:

Cabinet Level

General Jim Jones (Ret), National Security Adviser-designate
Admiral Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence-designate
Governor Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security-designate
Tim Geithner, Secretary of Treasurer-designate
Lisa Jackson, Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency-designate
Senator Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior-designate
General Eric Shinseki (Ret), Secretary of Veterans Affairs-designate
Governor Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture-designate

Senior Staff

Rahm Emanuel, incoming White House Chief of Staff
John Brennan, Homeland Security Adviser- and Deputy National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism-designate
Rand Beers, Counselor to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
David Axelrod, incoming White House Senior Advisor
Jim Messina, incoming White House Deputy Chief of Staff
Robert Gibbs, incoming White House Press Secretary

Officials from Vice President-elect Joe Biden's office and senior executive branch staffers from the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Health and Human Services, Justice, and State departments also participated, according to the statement.

-- John Liang
 

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January 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

President-elect Barack Obama's Defense Department transition team has largely completed its work and left the Pentagon, according to a DOD official.

The transition team -- headed by John White, former deputy defense secretary, and Michele Flournoy, who Obama is nominating to be the under secretary for policy -- has prepared a report for the incoming administration that surveys the current state of affairs in the military bureaucracy and includes options for charting a new course for the Defense Department, according to a source who has seen the document.

-- Jason Sherman

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January 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Air Force today officially stood up the command that will oversee all of the service’s nuclear bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile activities.

The provisional Global Strike Command (AFGSC) will be led by Brig. Gen. James Kowalski -- a combat bomber pilot extensive time in the B-52 and B-1B -- and will call Bolling Air Force Base in Washington its temporary home. Air Combat Command and Air Force Space Command will house supporting detachments.

The command is slated to reach initial operational capability in September. The provisional shop will “lead preparation activities for the establishment of a major command (MAJCOM) that will consolidate nuclear operations under a single organization,” according to a service statement.

This includes assisting in identifying a final location, and identifying manpower and resource requirements that will transfer to the newly established AFGSC.

The provisional command will also work closely with Headquarters Air Force Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Office (A10), Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, Air Force Materiel Command and U.S. Strategic Command as it refines the roles and responsibilities of this MAJCOM.

The Air Force will inactivate the provisional command upon the stand-up of the MAJCOM.

Headquarters Air Force and MAJCOMs provided temporary personnel to fill a core HQ element of 55 personnel who are subject matter experts capable of developing the functional requirements for AFGSC.

The service announced it would stand up a major command to oversee its nuclear enterprise last fall in response to several high-profile gaffes involving the services’s handling of nuclear weapons and components.

-- Marcus Weisgerber

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January 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Lindsey Graham arrived in Iraq this morning, according to a statement released by Biden's Senate office.

The duo started the day in Basra, where they met with head of the Iraqi Army in Basra. They also met with several community leaders, as well as members of the Basra provincial reconstruction team. The duo then flew to Baghdad, where they were briefed by Gen. Raymond Odierno, the head of Multi-National Force-Iraq, and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker.

Biden and Graham then held meetings with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Madi and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Barham Salih.

The duo wrapped up the day by having dinner with U.S. troops and several members of the Delaware National Guard’s 261st Signal Brigade, including Biden’s son, Capt. Beau Biden. After dinner, the delegation visited the Iraq headquarters of the 261st Brigade.

-- Chris Castelli

By
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The slate of nominees for top Pentagon jobs announced by the Obama team yesterday -- including Bill Lynn for deputy defense secretary -- will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee next Thursday, Jan. 15, the panel just announced.

The confirmation hearing also will involve Michèle Flourney, picked for under secretary of defense for policy; Robert Hale, the choice for comptrolleer; and Jeh Charles Johnson, for general counsel.

The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. in room SD-106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

-- Dan Dupont

By
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

President-elect Obama today reiterated his support for nominating Leon Panetta as head of the CIA, despite doubts in the blogosphere and among pundits. At the press conference where he officially announced Panetta as his choice (as well as retired Adm. Dennis Blair to become director of national intelligence), Obama said:

Let me be clear: in Leon Panetta, the Agency will have a director who has my complete trust and substantial clout. He will be a strong manager and a strong advocate for the CIA. He knows how to focus resources where they are needed, and he has a proven track record of building consensus and working on a bipartisan basis with Congress. I am confident that he will strengthen the CIA’s capability to protect the American people as it continues to adapt to our reformed intelligence community.

In addition to Blair and Panetta, the president-elect also announced other intel community appointments:

I will also rely on the talent and expertise of several distinguished public servants with substantial intelligence experience. The current DNI, Mike McConnell, will continue to offer his counsel through my Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. The National Counter-Terrorism Center -- the hub of our efforts to prevent attacks and root out terrorist networks -- will continue to benefit from the leadership of Michael Leiter. And I'm pleased to announce that John Brennan -- a close advisor, CIA veteran and former leader of the National Counter-Terrorism Center -- will be my Homeland Security Advisor and Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism, serving with the rank of Assistant to the President. John has the experience, vision and integrity to advance America's security.

The demands on the intelligence community are huge and growing. To have a successful and sustainable national security strategy, I have made it clear that we will need to deploy and balance all elements of American power -- our military, diplomacy, homeland security, economic might and moral suasion. Good intelligence work is necessary to support each of these endeavors.

Right now, there are men and women working around the world to bear this burden. We may never know their names, but we will always honor their sacrifice. The task for the team that I have assembled is to guide, support, and integrate their efforts so that we protect our security and safeguard the values that all of us have pledged to uphold. Thank you.

-- John Liang

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January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Government Accountability Office today released its denial of a protest by Raytheon contesting sole-source contracts to Lockheed Martin for Aegis modernization work on Navy surface combatants.

As Inside the Navy reported last month:

In its protest filed Sept. 22, Raytheon argued that the Navy should have technical data in order to conduct competitive procurements, as would be provided for under law, and in the spirit of the push for open architectures advocated by the service and Congress.

“These technical data arguments . . . reflect an apparent unwillingness to press, with any vigor, for data rights that would facilitate competitive procurements, or even to consider alternative approaches merely because they may be more challenging or unconventional,” Raytheon’s protest stated. “While contractors other than ((Lockheed)) may not be as historically entrenched with the technology, that is insufficient basis to preclude all other contractors from taking a crack at competing to work with those systems.”

But GAO did not concur with Raytheon's objections, as the Dec. 22 decision released today states:

Sole-source awards of follow-on contracts for the continued development of a sophisticated weapon system are unobjectionable where the agency reasonably determined that award to any other source would be likely to cause unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency’s requirements.

The Navy asserted it was justified in awarding a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin for Aegis modernization work to save time and money, ITN reported last month:

The service contended that Raytheon failed to “respond adequately” about how it would meet requirements, according to the Navy's 71-page response to the protest obtained this fall by Inside the Navy.

The service stands by its decision to award a sole-source contract “based upon the Navy’s determination that award to another source would result in unacceptable delay and substantial duplication of cost,” the response stated.

-- John Liang

By
January 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Military officials traditionally like to keep things vague when they discuss exercises. An announcement today by U.S. Joint Forces Command -- about a mission rehearsal exercise aimed at readying a new joint task force headquarters for operations in the Horn of Africa -- is no  exception.

According to the announcement, the task force members, about to move into one of the world's most volatile regions, are going to tackle issues like this:

"The problem sets may include a non-evacuation operation that may occur in a developing context like the Horn of Africa, a scenario that would require forces to retrieve U.S. and third-party nationals out of a particular situation or a humanitarian assistance disaster relief problem set such as flooding in the Horn of Africa."

Capisce?

-- Sebastian Sprenger

By
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Boeing just released its fourth-quarter and full-year aircraft deliveries for 2008. On the military side, the company delivered 26 aircraft and helicopters during the past quarter, including one Apache attack helicopter, four Chinook transport helicopters, four C-17 Globemaster cargo airplanes, three F-15 fighters, 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and two T-45TS trainers.

Boeing's total military aircraft deliveries for last year included three Apaches, 12 Chinooks, 16 C-17s, 14 F-15s, 45 F/A-18E/F and EA-18Gs, seven T-45TS trainers and two 767 tanker aircraft.

-- John Liang
 

By
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

President-elect Barack Obama announced key Pentagon appointments this afternoon, nominating William J. Lynn to be deputy defense secretary, Robert Hale to be the comptroller, Michèle Flournoy to be the under secretary for policy and Jeh Charles Johnson to be general counsel. In a statement, Obama said:   

“I am confident that these distinguished individuals have the expertise and commitment needed to help me implement a sustainable national security strategy that combats 21st century threats and keeps the American people safe. They share with me the utmost respect for our brave men and women in uniform, and will work day and night to support our troops, strengthen our military, and advance our capacity to carry out 21st century missions. Together with Secretary Gates and our military, we will work to responsibly end the war in Iraq, defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban, and renew America’s strength and standing in the world. I am honored that they have joined me in this mission, and I trust that they will serve the American people well.” 

Here are the biographies of the nominees sent along with the announcement: 

William J. Lynn III, Deputy Secretary of Defense

Lynn brings decades of experience and expertise in reforming government spending and making the tough choices necessary to ensure that American tax dollars are spent wisely. Lynn served as the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) from 1997 to 2001. In that position, he was the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense and the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for all budgetary and fiscal matters. From 1993 to 1997, Lynn was the director of program analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he oversaw all aspects of the DoD’s strategic planning process. Lynn was awarded three DoD medals for distinguished public service, the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and awards from the Army, Navy and Air Force. He also received the 2000 Distinguished Federal Leadership Award from the Association of Government Accountants for his efforts to improve defense accounting practices. Lynn currently serves as senior vice president of Government Operations and Strategy at Raytheon Company. Before entering the DoD in 1993, Lynn served for six years on the staff of Senator Edward Kennedy as liaison to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has also been a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University, on the professional staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses and served as the executive director of the Defense Organization Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Lynn has a law degree from Cornell Law School and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He is married with a daughter.

Robert F. Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)

Hale currently serves as the Executive Director of the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC). From 1994 to 2001 Mr. Hale was appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller). He was responsible for the Air Force budget and all aspects of Air Force financial management. He also spearheaded creation of the first-ever certification program for defense financial managers. Hale served for twelve years as head of the defense unit of the Congressional Budget Office. Early in his career, Hale served on active duty as a Navy officer and worked for the Center for Naval Analyses. Robert Hale holds a BS with honors from Stanford University as well as an MS from Stanford and an MBA from George Washington University. He is also a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration. Mr. Hale has served on the Defense Business Board and recently completed service on a Congressionally-mandated Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care. He is a former National President of the American Society of Military Comptrollers and is a Certified Defense Financial Manager with acquisition specialty.

Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense (Policy)

In January 2007, Flournoy cofounded and was named president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a venture dedicated to advancing a strong, centrist national security strategy. Prior to joining CNAS, she was a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she worked on a broad range of defense policy and international security issues. Previously, she was a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU), where she founded and led the university’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) working group, which was chartered by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop intellectual capital in preparation for the Department of Defense’s 2001 QDR. Prior to joining NDU, she was dual-hatted as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy. In that capacity, she oversaw three policy offices in the Office of the Secretary of Defense: Strategy; Requirements, Plans, and Counterproliferation; and Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasian Affairs. Flournoy was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000. In addition to several edited volumes and reports, she has authored dozens of articles on international security issues. Flournoy holds a B.A. in social studies from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

Jeh Charles Johnson, General Counsel

Johnson is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, based in New York City. Johnson's career has been a mixture of successful private law practice (as an experienced trial lawyer) and distinguished public service (as a federal prosecutor and presidential appointee). At age 47, he was elected a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Johnson's career as a trial lawyer began in 1989-91, as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted public corruption cases. He served three years as a federal prosecutor. In 1998, Johnson left Paul, Weiss for 27 months when President Clinton appointed him General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, following nomination and confirmation by the United States Senate. While in that position, Johnson was awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. In 2007-08, Johnson served as a foreign policy advisor to President-elect Obama’s campaign. Johnson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia Law School.  

-- Jason Sherman

By
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Call it a 21st-century shooting range. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today announced the contractors that will help build the National Cyber Range, where government officials will one day be able to test America's offensive and defense weaponry for the war online.

The winning contractors include the cyber shops of some of the usual suspects in the defense contracting scene. Also playing will be SPARTA of Columbia, MD, which nabbed the biggest chunk of the contract, worth $8.6 million. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, also won a sizable portion, worth $7.3 million.

"The National Cyber Range will provide the Nation with revolutionary, real-world simulation environments from which organizations can develop, field, and test new 'leap-ahead' concepts and capabilities required to protect U.S. interests against a growing, worldwide cyber threat," DARPA said in a Jan. 8 statement.

First order of business for the winning companies over the next eight months will be the development of "detailed engineering plans,"  DARPA said.

-- Sebastian Sprenger

By
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Hill is reporting something we've been hearing, too -- Robert Hale for Pentagon comptroller:

Hale, who is currently the executive director of the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC), is expected to be named comptroller of the Pentagon, where he’d head the office that manages the world’s largest military budget, according to sources familiar with the Obama transition team selection process.

Hale is a former Air Force comptroller.

His bio is here.

-- Dan Dupont

By
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Just in time for a kick-off organizational meeting next week, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) is welcoming eight new Democrats to the panel.

The seven freshman Democrats joining the HASC are Reps. Glenn Nye of Virginia, Chellie Pingree of Maine, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Frank Kratovil of Maryland, Eric Massa of New York and Bobby Bright of Alabama, Skelton said in a statement.

Additionally, Skelton notes, Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island will return to the committee.

“It’s an honor to welcome these Members to the House Armed Services Committee, and I’m confident they will discover they have joined one of the best committees in Congress,” Skelton said .

The committee begins its work with a 10 a.m. organizational meeting on Jan. 14.

-- Marjorie Censer

By
January 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Because of the unprecedented challenges facing President-elect Obama, the outgoing administration is facilitating “a different kind of transition,” according to Stephen Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser.

Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington yesterday, Hadley said the transition “is very much a mutual effort by the outgoing team and the incoming team.”

The Bush national security team has prepared a document that summarizes the 40 key issues of the administration, including the team's strategy on each issue, what has been accomplished and the remaining work to be done.

“Why do we do this?” Hadley asked. “The new team doesn't need to read them -- certainly, doesn't need to follow the policies in them -- but what we thought was important, in this different kind of transition, ((was)) for them to know what they have to work with -- what kind of policies ((are)) in place, what kind of relationships are in place and what kind of tools they have available. And what we, at least, think are the challenges that are going to hit them quickly.”

In addition, the Bush team has prepared a series of briefing memorandums and “view-graph briefings” on relevant issues and is planning joint briefings for the outgoing and incoming National Security Council teams.

“Both sides, with the direction of both President Bush and President-elect Obama -- ((are)) trying to make this a very different transition, because we're in a very different time,” Hadley added.

-- Marjorie Censer

By
January 7, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates might not need to be confirmed by the Senate, but that doesn't mean he won't have to face the Senate Armed Services Committee soon.

According to a notice just sent out by the panel, Gates will be the only witness at a Jan. 27 hearing called "To receive testimony on the challenges facing the Department of Defense."

UPDATE: A source on the committee confirms that the hearing is in fact in lieu of a confirmation sit-down.