The Insider

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September 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM

With news breaking all over the place about Sen. McCain's attempt to call off the debate Friday night while he and others work on the economy, we turn to Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haas for a preview of what to expect when and if McCain and Obama do get together and talk national security:

Consider the inbox of the 44th president of the United States.He will face ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; a Pakistani government that is unable or unwilling to take on the terrorists who have set up shop in the country's western reaches; and an Iran apparently intent on developing nuclear weapons. Beyond the greater Middle East, there are the challenges of a more assertive Russia, a rising China, a warming planet and a cooling world economy.

Making matters worse is that the new president will have to deal with these and other threats with his hands partially tied. The U.S. military is stretched. The American economy faces a financial-market meltdown. The country is politically divided at home and unpopular abroad. Only Washington, Lincoln and FDR faced comparable international challenges and domestic constraints upon taking office.

What makes the outcome of this election even more significant is that the occupant of the Oval Office enjoys tremendous latitude in the conduct of foreign policy. Congress is far more of a factor in domestic affairs. Anyone doubting this need only remind himself of the past eight years. It is thus fitting and fortunate that the first of the three presidential debates focuses on foreign policy and national security. It is appalling that we have thus far paid more attention to lipstick and pigs than to loose nukes in Pakistan (although the Wall Street crisis has at least refocused minds a bit).

-- Dan Dupont

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September 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Why would the Pentagon add a whopping $57 billion to the FY-10 budget request? Defense Department Spokesman Geoff Morrell, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon today, refused to discuss specific figures. However, he sketched out the budgetary dilemma that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is working to address during the FY-10 budget endgame in the coming weeks:

"We are looking at ways to reduce our reliance on supplementals. And so that is the discussion -- that is the work that is currently being conducted among the budgeters in this building. How far we'll go I'm not prepared to say, because I think that's an ongoing project."

He added:

"We are going to be involved in persistent conflict for some time to come -- the secretary's talked at length about that; that's the reality of the world we now live in -- and we need to budget for it. So whether that's done in the supplemental or in the base in the years to come, we're going to need monies to fight these conflicts. But I think there is an effort under way to see if we can move away from supplementals and increasingly on base budgets to fund these conflicts."

While shifting predictable war costs from supplemental appropriations to the base budget is part of the calculus, there are much larger allocations being considered for buying new weapons and ensuring all of the military services can sustain high operational tempos. Pentagon officials are considering a "range of possibilities" for boosting the FY-10 budget proposal, which will ultimately be the responsibility of the next administration to advance. At the upper end of the increases being weighed is a $57 billion hike. Here's how an internal Pentagon document we obtained would spread the windfall, across three categories:

The first category is called "capitalization and accelerations," to be used for buying new weapon systems, which would get $14 billion -- $2 billion more than expected earlier this summer.

Another category is titled "fact-of-life/inflation," which covers higher fuel prices, a weaker U.S. dollar, health care bills and shifting select recurring war costs funded through supplemental appropriations into the base budget. This area is penciled in for a $12 billion boost, $2 billion lower than a plan earlier this summer.

Finally, $31 billion is set aside for the "Long War," a catchall category that includes new funding for recruiting and retention; projects to build partnership capacity -- a category that stood on its own in an earlier budget drill; funding for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization; and funding for efforts broadly described as "presence."

The Air Force and the Navy are in line for a combined $12.7 billion boost -- the lion's share of the modernization spending in "capitalization and acceleration" -- to buy aircraft and ships. The Navy and Marine Corps would receive a combined $8 billion hike, the Air Force a $4.7 billion increase.
The Army's portion of this category would be $600 million and U.S. Special Operations Command would see $400 million, according to the chart.

Additional funding for "fact-of-life" allocations includes: $1.6 billion for the Army, $1.5 billion for the Navy and Marines Corps; $900 million for the Air Force; and $6.2 billion for defense-wide accounts. This category also includes $1. 8 billion the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a sum that the Pentagon official familiar with ongoing budget discussions says is being withheld to apply to last-minute needs.

Under the "long war" category, the Army would receive $2.5 billion and the Navy and Marine Corps $300 million for recruiting and retention. The Army also would receive $1.4 billion to pass on to the Joint Improvised Device Defeat Organization. And the Office of the Secretary of Defense would deal defense-wide accounts $5 billion for building partnership capacity activities.

Nearly $22 billion, the bulk of increases in the "long war" category, would fund a broad range of activities -- none of which yet are assigned line items in the budget -- for "presence-" related activities, programs required to set all of the services on a solid footing to sustain the high tempo of operations around the world associated with fighting terrorist networks.

The "presence" funding would include $11 billion for the Army; $3.9 billion for the Navy and Marine Corps; $4.2 billion for the Air Force; $1.2 billion for SOCOM; and $1.5 billion for defense-wide accounts.

In total, the Army would receive $17.1 billion, or 30 percent; the Navy and Marine Corps $13.7 billion, or 24 percent; the Air Force $9.8 billion, or 17.2 percent, SOCOM $1.6 billion, or 2.8 percent; and defense-wide accounts $12.7 billion, or 22.2 percent. The Office of the Secretary of Defense would hold back $2.1 billion, or 3.7 percent, to make last-minute allocations for unforeseen needs.

-- Jason Sherman

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September 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Defense Department officials are poring over a draft version of the Pentagon's energy security plan, slated for release later this year. Members of the powerful Deputy's Advisory Working Group around Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England blessed the document in principle earlier this month, as we've reported.

Word on the status of the plan comes amid a host of energy-related provisions in the newly passed fiscal year 2009 defense authorization legislation. For example, the bill requires the establishment of a senior position at DOD charged with overseeing all energy-related policy issues.

DOD's professed energy policy mantra is not so much about "going green" as it is about increasing the effectiveness of the armed forces. For one, frequent fuel deliveries to the front lines during the Iraq war have proven to be dangerous undertakings that have claimed many lives. In addition, the theory goes, systems that rely on, say, solar or wind power would enable troops a great deal more maneuvering autonomy on the battlefield.

So far, defense officials are keeping the draft energy security plan under wraps, although experts believe the document will contain few new items that the Defense Science Board didn't already address in a report earlier this year.

As with so many strategy documents at the sunset of this administration, the future of the DOD energy security plan is debatable.

Perhaps the next president could recycle it, using it as a starting point for the "operational energy strategy" called for in the FY-09 defense authorization bill.

-- Sebastian Sprenger

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September 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The combatant commanders are involved in a set campaigns of their own that could have major ramifications for the next president.

In March, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tasked them to craft a set of first-ever "campaign plans" that will essentially define how the commands do business during peacetime, in wartime, and every time in between.

Gates' Guidance for the Employment of the Force, which mandated the campaign plans, does not spell out a deadline, but folks are trying to wrap them up by year's end, a Pentagon spokeswoman told InsideDefense.com in May.

The first drafts started trickling in during the summer, affording Pentagon officials a chance to comment.

The emerging plans recently landed on the desks of the folks in the Joint Staff's Joint Operational War Planning Division, which is part of the J-7 directorate.

"What we're in the process of reviewing now are really the outlines of frameworks in which the combatant commands think that they'll be operating," said Marine Corps Col. Jerome Driscoll, who heads the war planning shop.

There are high expectations connected to the plans. For example, officials hope the documents will finally shed some light on the issue of how many people and what kind of equipment the combatant commanders need to execute Gates' direction of increased focus on the training of foreign security forces.

The hope behind boosting foreign armies is that the U.S. military will need to interfere less in future crises.

It has been hard to get a clear picture of exactly what the COCOMs' requirements are in that area because U.S. Central Command needs, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are "sucking up all resources," one official said.

(In Pentagon-speak, there's even a fancy term to describe this: "suppressed demand signal.")

"No combatant commander would ever articulate a need, knowing that he wouldn't get it filled anyway," the official said.

Of course, much will depend on how the next president decides to use the COCOM campaign plans, if he gives credence to them at all.

-- Sebastian Sprenger

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September 23, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The Times today has a must-read on Afghanistan, reporting on four separate reviews under way.

From the story:

The most ambitious of the assessments, run by the White House, begins in earnest this week with a series of high-level meetings, administration officials said. Officials have been directed to produce detailed recommendations within about two weeks for Mr. Bush's most senior advisers on a broad range of security, counterterrorism, political and development issues. Many of the dozen aides interviewed for this article spoke on condition of anonymity because the reviews are continuing.

Some of the issues being studied, including proposed increases in American troop levels in Afghanistan, have set off internal debate and could have far-reaching consequences for the next administration.

Meanwhile, Inside the Navy this week runs its own look at Afghanistan, this time with the focus on what it means for the Marine Corps:

A war-stretched Marine Corps sees decreasing its forces in Iraq on a "one-for-one basis" as the only tenable way to bolster its presence in Afghanistan and makes the question of how to deploy limited materiel between the two theaters a "No. 1" priority, a senior Marine general said last week.

"We are going to decrement Iraq on a one-for-one basis in order to build up in Afghanistan," Marine Lt. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the deputy commandant for plans, policy and operations, said in a Sept. 16 speech at a Marine Corps Association luncheon in Alexandria, VA. "There is no residual capacity or capability available to go to Afghanistan that is not currently either deployed to Iraq or preparing to deploy to Iraq." . . .

"How can we continue to properly equip Marines in Iraq and at the same time, loosen up enough equipment to pre-stage it in Afghanistan, so that Marines aren't waiting on equipment, that it's there waiting on them? And still at the same time keep enough equipment back at Camp Lejeune, ((NC)), Camp Smith, ((HI)), and Camp Pendleton, ((CA)), to maintain enough so that they can . . . conduct proper training before they deploy?" he asked.

"And I've got to tell you, I do not have the answers to all those questions yet," Dunford continued. "But among the priorities that we have, to be honest with you, that is No. 1 inside PP&O."

-- Dan Dupont

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September 23, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is making news today for comments made at a hearing on Capitol Hill, where the subject was Iraq and how/when/if to get out.

From the AP:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday urged the next U.S. president, who will take office in January, to proceed cautiously in withdrawing troops from Iraq despite an 80 percent drop in violence there.

"I worry the great progress that our troops and the Iraqis have made has the potential to override a measure of caution born of uncertainty," Gates told a congressional hearing in Washington.

Transcript coming as soon as we can get it.

Meanwhile, Inside the Army has news on Iraq transition issues involving a key database of information -- and concerns over how it might be misused:

Defense Department representatives have begun discussing with Iraqi government officials how the U.S. military could help Baghdad set up a biometric identification system -- a technology deemed crucial in quelling the insurgency there, defense officials tell Inside the Army.

"The Iraqis have a biometric capability that they're building," Myra Gray, director of the DOD Biometrics Task Force, said in a Sept. 11 interview. "They need to continue to protect themselves from terrorists, so we will assist them in growing their own, because we have the expertise," she added.

Defense officials are tight-lipped about the extent of the Pentagon's assistance, citing the sensitivity of ongoing discussions with the Iraqis.

"There is some sense of urgency," one U.S. defense source said. . . .

One issue that has sparked some concern is the idea that the data, if it falls into the wrong hands, could underpin an effective "enemies" list that could be used in crackdowns.

"The biometric, in and of itself, is fairly harmless," said Gray. "It's the abuse of the capability to build more than just the biometrics, to build a hit list, to build a discriminatory list of who's privileged and who's not, who can and cannot have certain things" that could be harmful, she added.

-- Dan Dupont

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September 23, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Wired Magazine recently came out with a list of the top 15 people the next president should listen to, people "with big ideas about how to fix the things that need fixing." In addition to leading thinkers in the areas of climate change, energy and security, the compilation includes two innovative defense thinkers.

Montgomery McFate, a senior social science adviser for the Human Terrain System, highlights the growing need for greater cultural understanding.

"We can't have effective strategy without cultural knowledge," McFate says. "If you look at the problems we've had -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Somalia -- they've been based on flawed assumptions about who those people are." If the president is going to make better decisions, he needs better insight into how other cultures work, she adds.

Also listed is Army Col. A.T. Ball, who showed how to "wage smarter war with agile Army IT" while in charge of Task Force Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize (ODIN), "a group of IT gurus, image analysts, and drone pilots charged with taking back the roads" in Iraq.

Wired identifies the key takeaway from Ball's performances as:

"Network-centric warfare requires a flexible chain of command. Previous efforts were hampered by rigid hierarchies and top-down decisionmaking. Units could wait days to get a few minutes of surveillance drone time -- only to see the craft fly away at a critical moment. Shifting the network to Ball's tactical level gave his forces speed and agility. In the future, small units like Ball's must be able to run their own networks -- without waiting for input from generals."

Worth emulating? Inside the Army reported last month that the Pentagon is standing up Task Force ODIN-Afghanistan to do for the U.S. mission in Central Asia what Col. Ball and Task Force ODIN provided in Iraq.

-- Kate Brannen

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September 22, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The New York Times today takes a good look at what the two campaigns are doing to get ready for a transition of power should they win. It's not all about defense, but it's worth a read.

To wit:

Democrats said that John D. Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, was leading the transition preparations for Mr. Obama. Mr. Podesta, who founded a lobbying firm with his brother in 1988, is president of the Center for American Progress, a sort of government-in-exile waiting for Democrats to regain power. At the McCain campaign, Republicans said, transition work is being coordinated by William E. Timmons, a longtime Washington lobbyist whose clients have included the American Petroleum Institute and the mortgage company Freddie Mac.

If Mr. McCain wins, Republicans said, his transition team will probably be led by Mr. Timmons and John F. Lehman, a McCain fund-raiser who was secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. . . .

Clay Johnson III, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said "the White House staff has met with transition representatives" for Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama.

"Both campaigns are doing what they need to do to be prepared to govern on Jan. 20 at noon," said Mr. Johnson, who was executive director of the Bush transition team in 2000-1. "The amount of work being done before the election, formal and informal, is the most ever."

One more excerpt, this one more on-target for our purposes:

Experts on national security worry that America's opponents will try to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the transition, the first since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

"In every transition, there's a total vacuum for anywhere from three months to a year," Mr. Lehman said. "It's appalling. On 9/11, President Bush had only 30 percent of his national security appointees in place, and that was eight months after the inauguration."

Elaine C. Duke, an under secretary of homeland security, said her department was "poised and ready" to work with the McCain and Obama campaigns on transition planning before the Nov. 4 election. But she said, "We have not been contacted by either campaign."

Planning is essential, Ms. Duke said, because "terrorists perceive government transitions to be periods of increased vulnerability." She cited the bombing of the World Trade Center five weeks after Mr. Clinton took office in 1993; the Madrid train bombings in 2004, three days before national elections in Spain; and the car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow just days after a new British prime minister took office in 2007.

-- Dan Dupont

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September 22, 2008 at 5:00 AM

The New York Times reports that the Defense Department has been slow to train military personnel in different languages, particularly Arabic. Though the Pentagon planned three years ago a sharp increase, the Times' story says the ramp-up has been slow and the objective is not entirely clear.

Figures from the department indicate that only 1.2 percent of the military receives a bonus paid to those who can speak languages judged to be of critical importance for the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other areas of strategic concern.

The military has struggled for years to develop a clear objective for language training.

In July, at a hearing of the House subcommittee charged with assessing the military's progress in language training, the chairman, Representative Vic Snyder, Democrat of Arkansas, said: "I think the Pentagon has a sense that they're moving in the right direction. I just don't think they have a sense yet of what that endpoint is."

John Nagl, a retired lieutenant colonel who is co-author of the Army's new counterinsurgency field manual, said in an interview that the military had been moving too slowly, and he questioned the military's assertion that language needs were difficult to assess since they were subject to changing global security conditions.

The military by now should "have a pretty good idea of what countries we're fighting in," he said.

Improving the military's cultural awareness and language capabilities has been a key goal for many DOD officials -- and, most notably for our purposes, is among the top 25 transformation priorities in Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England's Aug. 9, 2007, memo laying out objectives defense leaders wanted to see accomplished by the end of this year, before a new administration takes over.

The language issue generally falls inside a broader debate on how best to conduct strategic communications, or win the "hearts and minds" of an occupied country's residents.

-- Marjorie Censer

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September 22, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Last night in an interview with 60 Minutes, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said government spending has gone "out of control" -- and that his administration would take steps to reduce it, which he said would include cuts in defense spending.

McCain: ... I think the major point here is that spending got out of control. How many Americans know that the size of government increased by 40 percent in the last seven years? We Republicans for six of the eight years presided over the greatest increase in government since the Great Society. Republicans came to power to change Washington. And Washington changed us.

Pelley: But how do you cut the budget?

McCain: Oh, easy. Look

Pelley: That much.

McCain: Look, if you were able to increase the budget and the size of government by 40 percent, don't you think you could cut some of it?

Pelley: What are you gonna cut?

McCain: I think we'll frankly, you can eliminate so many agencies of government that are outmoded. Obviously I would scrub defense spending. Obviously we would look at every institution of government. I would stop these protectionist tariffs. I would stop subsidizing sugar.

Pelley: Did I just hear you say you're gonna cut the defense budget?

McCain: I think there's areas in defense where we can save a lot of money in cost over runs.

McCain offered no specifics, though he has issued a budget plan that includes the following:

Balance the budget requires slowing outlay growth to 2.4 percent. The roughly $470 billion dollars (by 2013) in slower spending growth come from reduced deployments abroad ($150 billion; consistent with success in Iraq/Afghanistan that permits deployments to be cut by half -- hopefully more), slower discretionary spending in non-defense and Pentagon procurements ($160 billion; there are lots of procurements -- airborne laser, Globemaster, Future Combat System -- that should be ended and the entire Pentagon budget should be scrubbed). . . .

However, there's been some confusion on that FCS bit -- he has, in fact, criticized Sen. Obama for allegedly opposing the program.

-- Kate Brannen

FURTHER READING: FCS

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September 22, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) spoke for the Obama campaign today at the 130th General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States, held in Baltimore.

A taste:

When it comes to equipment -- to train on, to deploy with, and to have available at home for war or natural disasters - we have not provided what you need.

And that's wrong.

Ninety percent of units have serious equipment shortages.

Collectively, over $100 billion worth of equipment has been left in Iraq.

And we've seen the consequences of that.

Simply put, the states have been left with the tab to make up for this equipment shortage.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to the group yesterday.

Biden also threw this out there:

Remember in 2006, when it was reported that the Department of Defense was making plans to cut National Guard force structure and strength?

Barack Obama and I were two of the 75 Senators to send a letter to the Secretary of Defense strongly opposing those plans.

John McCain didn't sign.

We believe we shouldn't be cutting back on the Guard at the very time we're asking you to do more.

-- Dan Dupont

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September 21, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was in Baltimore today to talk to, and about, the National Guard.

The occasion was the 130th General Conference of the National Guard Association of the United States. He called for a "new and lasting commitment" to the Guard that he said "must begin with our political leadership recognizing the sheer magnitude of what we ask Guard units to accomplish -- abroad and here at home -- with a force comprised primarily of part-time soldiers and airmen."

This means a national leadership that respects and treats our governors and adjutant generals as partners in national and homeland security policymaking, rather than as impediments and intruders. Part of that essential effort was to grant the Chief of the National Guard Bureau the fourth star that the position merits -- and I'm pleased to congratulate General-Select Craig McKinley on being the first Guardsman to wear that fourth star.

This means getting rid of policies, practices, and customs that fail to promote a seamless Total Force based on cooperation, jointness, and the mutual respect that all components, including the Guard and Reserve, have earned with their blood and bravery. We cannot afford -- and I will not tolerate -- an environment in which parochialism stands in the way of building an integrated Total Force.

This means giving the National Guard all the manpower it needs -- including a sufficient complement of full-time positions -- so that every unit is ready to mobilize for any contingency. This means providing all the training the Guard requires, so that no one is asked to take on a mission unprepared. And it means ensuring that our Guard is well supplied, so that no unit will ever go into harm's way without the best equipment that America can provide.

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) speaks for the Democratic ticket tomorrow.

-- Dan Dupont

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September 19, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Talk of the Pentagon's goal of institutionalizing the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization flared back up again this week on Capitol Hill, where Bradley Berkson, director for programs, analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, assured lawmakers that the Pentagon has increased its base budget funding for JIEDDO in the future years defense plan, among other steps. (Transcript here.)

Institutionalizing JIEDDO is, of course, one of the "top 25" transformation priorities laid out over a year ago by Defense Secretary Gordon England.

In his Aug. 9, 2007, memo, he said the objective was "to complete or advance to a major milestone each of these initiatives and also to have them institutionalized by December, 2008" -- right before the new administration comes in.

England added that "(c)ompleting these initiatives by the end of next year will be greatly beneficial to the next management team and to our military forces."

Other goals included in England's memo were rapidly fielding Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles --- for which the last anticipated contract was awarded earlier this month; strengthening cultural awareness and language capabilities; and pursuing targeted acquisition reforms like the Configuration Steering Boards now in place.

Read the memo and judge for yourself how many goals have been met.

-- Marjorie Censer

By
September 19, 2008 at 5:00 AM

And it is a race -- for the new administration to figure out what to do with space, according to a new report written up today on InsideDefense.com:

In the wake of last year's Chinese anti-satellite test and the more recent U.S. shoot-down of a defective intelligence satellite, the next administration needs to address as soon as possible what kind of international space regime best suits its interests, according to a new Council on Foreign Relations report.

Last December, a Chinese missile destroyed an aging weather satellite, and earlier this year, the United States shot down a defective intelligence satellite deemed to pose a danger to human health because of its toxic fuel.

"While the United States will likely remain the preeminent space power at least for the next twenty to thirty years, it will no longer enjoy the level of near-monopoly on military space capability that it has enjoyed since the fall of the Soviet Union," the report, released Sept. 18, states. "As China becomes a credible space power with a demonstrated offensive counterspace capability, the question for U.S. policy is what kind of feasible and stable space regime best serves U.S. long-term security interests.

"This question should be addressed early in the new administration's tenure, if not earlier," the report emphasizes.

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey recently wrote his own report on Air Force Space Command, asserting that because the existing Air Force space strategy is "under-resourced and severely constrained," the next administration will have "at most a year" to make critical decisions relating to the United States' global superiority in space -- before it starts "rapidly eroding."

-- Dan Dupont

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September 19, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Among the many initiatives being punted to the next administration is, of course, the new Air Force tanker, something that has occupied one of the presidential contenders -- Sen. John McCain -- for quite a while.

Today's Inside the Air Force brings word that the Air Force's top acquisition executive is open to embracing a relatively new Pentagon policy -- competitive prototyping -- for the next tanker:

During a broad-ranging interview with Inside the Air Force this week, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Sue Payton pulled the curtain back on several aspects of the collapse of the service's KC-X tanker competition and what acquisition officials are doing to make sure it does not happen again.

Payton -- who has served as the Air Force's top weapons buyer since 2006 -- discussed the need for competition for military contracts and was extremely supportive of Pentagon acquisition chief John Young's guidance for the services to invest more in the research and development phases of programs, which includes prototyping.

"We could have invested and had a fly-off and had some real concrete data," Payton said on the tanker competition during the Sept. 17 interview.

When asked if she supported prototyping in the next go-round of bidding, Payton replied, "I tell you what, I would."

Whether Sen. McCain would is another question.

Another good question: If McCain wins -- or, for that matter, if Sen. Obama wins -- will the author of the prototyping policy, Pentagon acquisition chief John Young, stick around?

More reading, from last September:

-- Dan Dupont