The Insider

By Cid Standifer
August 18, 2010 at 5:18 PM

The Marine Corps Force Structure Review ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates will begin in September and should wrap up this winter, according to a statement issued by the service.

And: It will not address end-strength numbers.

The statement says that the review will focus on capabilities and, specifically, options for "multi-capable Marine Air Ground Task Forces that can disaggregate and aggregate to engage, respond to crises, rapidly project power, and assure access."

"There is no active-duty end strength target; the results will be based on the Force Structure Review Group's (FSRG) analysis of the capabilities and capacity required," the statement quotes Marine Corps Combat Development Command head Lt. Gen. George Flynn as saying.

The review also "must not reduce current readiness," the release adds.

"The intent is to ensure the Marine Corps is designed first and foremost, to remain our Nation's premier crisis response force," the release says. "The implications of this are many, including the requirement for Marine forces that are adaptable, highly trained and organizationally and operationally flexible. The Corps must be expeditionary -- light, powerful, sustainable, and able to operate where there is no infrastructure."

The statement matches what Secretary Gates said recently to a Marines' Memorial Association gathering in California about the Corps' future role, which he suggested might not include plans for large-scale amphibious assaults.

"The counterinsurgency skills the Marines developed during this past decade," Gates said, "combined with the agility and esprit honed over two centuries, will position the Corps in my view to be at the 'tip of the spear' in the future, when the U.S. military is likely to confront a range of irregular and hybrid conflicts."

Navy Under Secretary Robert Work recently told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the decisions from the force structure review could start influencing investment decisions as soon as next summer.

"The earliest you might see concrete changes to the structure, organization and size of the Marine Corps is in [the fiscal year 2013 program objective memorandum], but all of the changes are going to be conditions-based on what happens in Afghanistan, obviously," Work added. "If we're still hard in the fight, then the Marine Corps will stay focused on that fight, but we will at least be thinking of what the Marine Corps might look like."

By John Liang
August 18, 2010 at 3:19 PM

More than 18 countries this week are taking part in U.S. Southern Command's annual PANAMAX exercise, with the focus this year on defending the Panama Canal, according to a SOUTHCOM statement. Specifically:

The purpose of the exercise, called PANAMAX 2010, is to enhance regional cooperation and exercise participating nations' ground, naval, air and special operators' ability to respond to threats to the Panama Canal and plan for a major humanitarian assistance and disaster relief event in the region.

Co-sponsored by the Government of Panama and U.S. Southern Command, PANAMAX 2010 is one of the largest multinational maritime training exercises in the world, and is taking place in the waters off the coasts of Panama from Aug. 16-27.

Participants will conduct naval operations as a multinational task force responding to exercise scenarios ranging from a stabilization mission to disaster relief; scripted scenarios will address maritime operations skills essential to successfully countering 21st Century threats potentially encountered in today's maritime environment.

Nations participating in PANAMAX 2010 include: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States and Uruguay.

PANAMAX began in 2003 with the participation of three countries: Panama, Chile and the United States. Since then, exercise participation has grown significantly, peaking during PANAMAX 2009 with 20 nations. reported in April that the head of SOUTHCOM said his command needs more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to address the biggest concern in the region: illicit trafficking in drugs, people, weapons and bulk cash:

Tackling the problem, which affects almost every part of the region, requires using ISR to glean a better understanding of the illicit trafficking enterprise, he said.

"I call it an enterprise because it's supply, transit, demand, as well as the financing that's associated with it," he said.

About 80 percent of the illicit traffic comes through the maritime environment, Fraser said. On an annual basis, SOUTHCOM is successful in disrupting about 25 percent of the cocaine and trafficking that comes through the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific, he said.

"But it's a big area," Fraser stressed, noting SOUTHCOM is looking for broad-area capacity for signals intelligence as well as electro-optical sensors. "How can we detect change?"

"We don't have the persistence of capability that we need over the broad areas," Fraser said. The command is also looking to improve information sharing with partner governments in the region.

He declined to quantify the amount of additional funding SOUTHCOM needs for ISR.

Finding traffickers' fast boats and stealthy semisubmersibles is primarily an air mission, he said. But the command also pursues a maritime mission involving Navy ships and unmanned undersea vehicles, as well as an effort to support other governments and law-enforcement agencies, he noted.

SOUTCHOM disrupted or detected 78 semisubmersibles in 2008 and 52 in 2009, he said, noting that the command is not sure if the decrease from one year to the next suggests traffickers are using the vessels less frequently or whether they have simply adopted new tactics to better avoid detection.

Semisumbersibles tend to be used at night, he noted. Just how stealthy they are was demonstrated when the U.S. military towed a captured semisubmersible behind a ship to test whether it could be seen during an exercise that depicted a fictional threat to the Panama Canal.

"And we had a pinpoint position of where it was, had a helicopter who knew exactly where it was fly over the top of it and they couldn't see it. So, it's a pretty effective means of transiting cocaine -- very difficult to detect," Fraser said. Further, if they are detected, such vessels can be quickly scuttled, he added.

By Jason Sherman
August 17, 2010 at 8:09 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- vacationing this week on Whidbey Island, WA -- made time to sign a memo codifying the efficiency targets he outlined on Aug. 9 that aim to reduce excess and duplication across the Defense Department.

On Aug. 16, he signed a three-page memo to Defense Department leaders codifying the 20 initiatives he outlined last week -- which include closing U.S. Joint Forces Command and thinning the ranks of high-level officers and civilians. Gates' memo also formally establishes a temporary task force headed by Robert Rangel, a special assistant to the defense secretary, to ensure "proper implementation of these critical initiatives."

Gates directs the task force to complete its work in 120 days -- in other words, by Dec. 14, which is less than two weeks before the Pentagon is scheduled to finalize its fiscal year 2012 budget proposal and its FY-12 to FY-15 investment plan.

By John Liang
August 17, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon today announced a slew of Huntsville, AL-based companies that have joined up to compete for the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense development and sustainment contract.

"These companies form a best-of-industry team that provides unmatched credentials for this critical missile defense contract," Mathew Joyce, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.'s GMD vice president and program manager, said in a statement. "Each partner company brings the technical know-how, domain expertise and mission understanding needed for the development and sustainment of this key strategic asset."

According to the statement:

· Dynetics Inc. will perform cyber support training and systems engineering principally in Huntsville and Colorado Springs, Colo., including information assurance, modeling and simulation, system analysis, ground and flight test support and training.  “Dynetics has had a relationship for many years with Lockheed Martin.  We’ve teamed up to provide the government with our combined missile defense capabilities on the THAAD program for the past 15 years and on the Targets and Countermeasures program for the past seven,” said Dr. Marc Bendickson, chief executive officer, Dynetics.  “We are pleased to offer our expertise and resources to support this critically important program for the nation.”

· QuantiTech Inc., one of several Huntsville-based small businesses on the team, will provide Ground-based Interceptor support primarily in demilitarization and disposal planning.  “QuantiTech is excited and ready to bring our unique demilitization planning capability to the Lockheed Martin GMD Team,” said Sheila Brown, chief executive officer, QuantiTech.

·ARES Corporation will perform engineering services for reliability, availability and maintainability.

· CohesionForce Inc. will provide software and system engineering services for ground systems development, as well as test and evaluation services for the system.

·IroquoiSystems Inc. will perform engineering services for modeling and simulation and open architecture framework.

Nation-wide partner companies announced today are the following.

· ATK Aerospace Systems will manufacture and provide maintenance and sustainment support for Ground-based Interceptor components.

· Bechtel National Inc. will provide proven expertise on launch site components (LSC), including engineering support for operations, maintenance and upgrades of the LSC it designed, supplied, and installed, and will perform schedule integration for the operational asset management system.

·Harris Corporation will provide proven maintenance and sustainment for the In-Flight Interceptor Communications System (IFICS) Data Terminal (IDT), a key component that provides the data link to send target updates from the GMD Fire Control to the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle.

· Imprimis Inc. will provide expert training support services at Huntsville, Colorado Springs, Vandenberg and Fort Greely.

· Oregon Iron Works Inc. will perform silo refurbishment.

· TDX Power Inc. will provide facility expertise for the missile field power supply.

In addition, Alaska-based Alaska Aerospace Corp. will provide operations and maintenance support at Ft. Greely and Vandenberg, and NANA Development Corp.'s Sivuniq and Akima Logistics Services companies will provide logistics management, engineering and supply support services at Ft. Greely and Huntsville, according to the Lockheed statement.

By John Liang
August 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Katherine Hammack, an energy and "green" building expert, assumed the position of the Army's top installations and environment official earlier this month, Defense Environment Alert reports this morning. Her taking the job completes a move by all three services to fill their top environment positions with people who have a strong link or commitment to climate and energy security, one environmentalist notes. Specifically:

Hammack was sworn in as the Army's assistant secretary for installations and environment Aug. 4. In her new role, Hammack will oversee installation policy, energy security and management, environmental, BRAC, housing, utility and occupational safety programs for the Army. Prior to her appointment, she led Ernst & Young's climate change and sustainability services practice, her biography says. She was a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, helped develop the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, building standard, and has over 30 years experience in offering energy and sustainability advisory services, according to her biography. She was also a consultant to the White House on the "greening" of the White House and the Executive Office Building.

In correspondence to the Senate related to her nomination, Hammack said that her top environmental challenges will be to ensure the execution of the 2005 BRAC decisions and Army transformation efforts, which include challenges related to cleanups and environmental impact analyses. Other important challenges, she said, are "ensuring compliance with environmental sustainability and energy goals in federal mandates," according to a response she gave to advance questions from the Senate. On the green building front, she said she has spent the last three and a half years serving on a LEED committee developing the LEED building standard, adding that she believes compliance with that standard, "as part of the Army's LEED program, will result in more sustainable, energy efficient buildings."

Her appointment means that all of the top installations and environment positions within the services and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense have people with strong commitments to climate security, the environmentalist source says, noting it indicates they all view energy conservation and surety and renewable energy as key elements of DOD's mission. "That should reinforce efforts within the Department to move from simply being the biggest energy guzzler to a leader in the transition to a non-carbon economy," the source says.

Her appointment comes at a time when the Army, along with the other services, is looking to reduce its energy consumption and boost its use of renewable fuels, as compared to traditional fossil fuels, and comes as the services are required by an October 2009 executive order on sustainability to lower their greenhouse gas emissions, undertake water conservation efforts and meet sustainability requirements for federal buildings by certain dates.

Similarly, President Obama has put in place energy and environmental experts in the Navy and Air Force top installations and environment slots. Jackalyne Pfannenstiel and Terry Yonkers were confirmed by the Senate in March to lead the Navy and Air Force's installations and environment offices, respectively. Pfannenstiel was previously a top California energy regulator and chaired Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) Climate Action Team's subcommittee on energy and land use, as well as helped create the state's low-carbon fuel standards, according to her biography.

By Jason Sherman
August 16, 2010 at 9:01 PM

The military services are set this week to formally present their fiscal years 2012 to 2015 program objective memoranda (POMs) -- also known as proposals for spending over the next five years -- to the Deputy's Advisory Working Group, a high-level governance panel led by Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn and Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to a Pentagon official.

First up are the Army and Air Force, who will brief on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

The Navy and Marine Corps are scheduled to brief on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

The three-star general and flag officers from each of the services responsible for the mechanics of constructing the POMs are scheduled to brief on their respective programs, including a discussion of how they fulfilled Defense Secretary Robert Gates' efficiency directive.

By John Liang
August 16, 2010 at 7:13 PM

While House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) is encouraged by China's military efforts to combat piracy, "we clearly still have a long way to go in U.S.-China security relations," the lawmaker said in a statement following the release of the Pentagon's annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments during 2009. Specifically:

Particularly troubling is China's continuing trend of suspending U.S.-China military-to-military contacts, which limits the extent to which our nations can explore areas of cooperation and is not a helpful approach to addressing our differences.  There is a dangerous risk that miscommunication and misperception between the U.S. and China could lead to a miscalculation, particularly given China’s increasing military capabilities, and military-to-military contacts are an essential tool to help prevent such instances. These contacts promote understanding, build trust, prevent conflict, and when appropriate, foster cooperation.

I am also concerned by some continuing trends and ambiguities regarding China's military modernization, including its missile buildup across from Taiwan, its maritime activities in the South China Sea, and the steady increase of its power projection capabilities, which do not obviously support China's stated national security objectives.  I encourage meaningful action by China to reduce its military presence directly opposite Taiwan and to implement the points made in President Hu Jintao's December 2008 speech governing the future of cross-Strait relations.

While China has taken some steps toward increasing transparency and openness regarding its defense strategy and expenditures in recent years, such steps are modest.  China's most recent military budget continues a trend of sustained annual increases, and China's strategic intentions remain opaque.  This was highlighted by China's missile intercept test on January 11 and by the cyber-attacks on Google earlier this year.  I hope China will increasingly come to view transparency more as a responsibility to accompany the accumulation of national power and less as a transaction to be negotiated.

I continue to believe that China is not necessarily destined to be a threat to the United States and that China doesn’t need to view the United States as a threat to its interests.  Yet, conflict between our nations remains a possibility, and we must remain prepared for whatever the future holds in the U.S.-China security relationship. At the same time, we must each be mindful that our actions can produce unintended consequences, and although cooperation is a difficult path, it is ultimately the path that is in both nations' best interest.

By Christopher J. Castelli
August 16, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates hopes to step down next year, he says in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine.

"I think that it would be a mistake to wait until January 2012," Gates says in the interview. "First of all, I think we might have trouble getting the kind of person they want if there's a possibility that they might only be in the job for a year. You know, who knows what the election situation will look like. But also I just think this is not the kind of job you want to fill in the spring of a presidential election. So I think sometime in 2011 sounds pretty good."

By Cid Standifer
August 13, 2010 at 7:27 PM

The Government Accountability Office has shot down a protest by ITT Corp. claiming that Boeing was unfairly awarded a contract for Joint Tactical Radio System software.

According to the GAO's summary of the protest, released today, ITT claimed that Boeing had unfair access to technical information that could help it in a bid over enterprise network manager support because ITT was forced to share details about its waveform generation software during negotiations over a related contract. ITT also claimed that the Navy had given certain aspects of its bid unfairly low scores.

The GAO decided that the protest didn't hold water because ITT had access to the same information it wanted withheld from Boeing.

“ITT is complaining, not that Boeing had unequal access to information, but that ITT lost an informational advantage to which it believes it was entitled,” the GAO concluded. “An unequal access to information [organizational conflict of interest] can only be established where a protester shows that the awardee had information that it did not possess.”

The GAO also decided that even if the Navy had made a few mistakes in evaluating ITT's bid, they weren't important enough to change the outcome of the competition, and at the most, the two companies would have been neck-and-neck on technical grounds, in which case Boeing would have won on cost.

By Marcus Weisgerber
August 13, 2010 at 5:22 PM

The Boeing-Lockheed Martin team that lost the Air Force's Small Diameter Bomb II competition this week will not protest the service's decision to the Government Accountability Office, company officials said early this afternoon.

“After a thorough and detailed debrief by the U.S. Air Force this week, the Boeing Company has decided not to file a protest with the Government Accountability Office regarding the SDB II contract announcement,” said Debra Rub, vice president, Boeing Weapons. “We appreciate the Air Force’s professionalism, and Boeing will remain a committed partner with the [Department] of Defense by continuing to provide the [Joint Direct Attack Munition] and SDB family of products that will protect the lives of American war fighters across the globe.”

The Air Force selected a Raytheon-designed SDB II and awarded the company a $450 million contract on Aug. 9. Boeing builds the baseline SDB, which is currently operational and deployed. The new version of the weapon can attack moving targets in bad weather.

By John Liang
August 13, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Colombian drug cartel leaders shouldn't think the United States will discontinue its narcotics interdiction flights off the coast of Colombia anytime soon. In a memo to the secretaries of state and defense this week, President Obama writes:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 1012 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2291-4), I hereby certify, with respect to Colombia, that (1) interdiction of aircraft reasonably suspected to be primarily engaged in illicit drug trafficking in that country's airspace is necessary, because of the extraordinary threat posed by illicit drug trafficking to the national security of that country; and (2) that country has appropriate procedures in place to protect against innocent loss of life in the air and on the ground in connection with such interdiction, which shall at a minimum include effective means to identify and warn an aircraft before the use of force is directed against the aircraft.

The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register and to notify the Congress of this determination.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon notified Congress of a proposed $167 million sale of nine Black Hawk helicopters to Colombia. "This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America," the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

Last month, Inside the Pentagon reported that the Defense Department was formulating a new concept of operations and force-planning strategy for counternarcotics operations in Colombia, focusing those efforts on the premier air base in the country. Specifically:

"We are in review mode on what form the [military] construction is going to take and what the concept of operations . . . is going to be," said a military official in the region with knowledge of the plan.

"Both of those are in development and that work is ongoing," the official added.

While the official could not comment on when DOD expects to finalize the Colombian resourcing plan, the official noted those plans will center on future counternarcotics operations based out of Palanquero air base in Puerto Salgar.

The internal DOD work regarding the Colombian CONOPS and subsequent resourcing plan is based on "developing and defining what mission sets we would fly out of Palanquero, what the construction requirements would be to support those mission sets, how we would operate and that sort of thing."

Exactly how U.S. forces will conduct counterdrug missions from Palanquero will be guided, in part, by a defense cooperation agreement inked between the United States and Colombia last year.

According to the agreement, U.S. forces will be allowed to conduct counternarcotics and counterterrorism operations from Colombia for 10 years, with an option to extend the agreement another 10 years in 2019, another DOD official said at the time.

By Christopher J. Castelli
August 12, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Four Virginia congressmen -- Randy Forbes (R), Glenn Nye (D), Bobby Scott (D) and Rob Wittman (R) -- announced today that they will host a roundtable discussion next week on the Pentagon's plans to eliminate U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, VA. The session is slated for the afternoon of Aug. 18 at Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center in Suffolk, VA.

Elected officials and other community and industry leaders directly impacted by the closing of the command have been invited, according the lawmakers' statement. The event will let lawmakers and local leaders to "discuss the impact of, and analyze ideas and prepare a collective response" to the closing of the command, the statement adds.

By John Liang
August 12, 2010 at 6:47 PM

With the Airborne Laser's next shoot-down attempt of a boosting ballistic missile target due to take place by the end of next month, the system recently went through a "continuing series of calibration and targeting tests," Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner tells Inside Missile Defense.

According to the FAA Notice to Airmen posted late last month:


The above notice refers to the time frame between July 23 and Aug. 1 in an area "out over the Pacific off Point Mugu and vicinity," Lehner said. No missile intercepts were attempted during the tests, he added.

The House Armed Services Committee in May approved a $50 million increase for directed-energy research and the Airborne Laser Test Bed program "to facilitate the testing and development of technologies that are most likely to yield operational capabilities in the future," strategic forces subcommittee Chairman James Langevin (D-RI) said.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Turner (R-OH) said at the time that he was "particularly pleased" with the ALTB funding increase. "It was clear that the budget request was not sufficient to support further flight testing using the Airborne Laser Test Bed as well as mature innovative directed energy technologies," he added.

By John Liang
August 12, 2010 at 6:28 PM

North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command recently promulgated a new policy for how to conduct experiments related to the organizations' missions.


This instruction establishes procedures for implementing the experimentation program within North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) in accordance with the references listed in Attachment 1. It details the procedures (experimentation proposal identification, submission, integration, coordination, and assessment) and staff responsibilities related to the NORAD and USNORTHCOM experimentation process (Attachment 2). This instruction applies to all NORAD and USNORTHCOM Headquarters staff, regions, subordinate commands, components, and any persons or entities working in the capacity of the Headquarters. It does not apply to National Guard and/or Reserve units that are not assigned, allocated, or apportioned to NORAD and USNORTHCOM.

By John Liang
August 12, 2010 at 3:35 PM

The Pentagon recently updated its doctrine on helping other countries' counterinsurgency efforts. According to the preface to "Joint Publication 3-22 on Foreign Internal Defense":

This publication has been prepared under the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It sets forth joint doctrine to govern the joint activities and performance of the Armed Forces of the United States in operations and provides the doctrinal basis for interagency coordination and for US military involvement in multinational operations while conducting or supporting FID. It provides military guidance for the exercise of authority by combatant commanders and other joint force commanders (JFCs) and prescribes joint doctrine for operations, education, and training. It provides military guidance for use by the Armed Forces in preparing their appropriate plans. It is not the intent of this publication to restrict the authority of the JFC from organizing the force and executing the mission in a manner the JFC deems most appropriate to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall objectives.

Last month, Inside the Army reported that officials at Joint Forces Command's Joint Irregular Warfare Center plan to offer a still-classified metrics scheme as their answer to the question of how the U.S. military would know whether its irregular-warfare missions are succeeding or failing. Specifically:

Work on the metrics program, conducted in concert with the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, began in response to a March 11, 2009, irregular warfare vision statement from JFCOM chief Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis. The document gave JIWC and JWAC 18 months to craft "measures of effectiveness that will facilitate and guide the joint force in the planning and execution" of irregular warfare, the document said. Mattis last week was nominated to take over U.S. Central Command.

As a starting point, officials picked a classified program used by a combatant command, JIWC Director James O'Connell told Inside the Army in a June 16 interview. The plan now is to "expand . . . the aperture of that program" and get other COCOMs and services to also adopt it, O'Connell said. A common set of metrics for irregular warfare outcomes would serve to help DOD officials gauge "where we are" as they plan and execute missions, he added.

O'Connell declined to describe the program identified by JFCOM or name the combatant command using it, citing the effort's classification. Whether the program would be applied to measure progress in Afghanistan is still undecided, he said.

DOD leaders believe irregular warfare, a term loathed by many civilian development specialists outside the military, will constitute the predominant form of conflict facing the United States in the future. In DOD nomenclature, sub-disciplines of IW are the fields of counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense and stability operations.

O'Connell suggested the metrics program's classification currently hinders it from being widely discussed by civilian experts and academics outside the military -- as it is customary with progress measures leaning heavily on development and nation-building. To that end, officials hope to make at least parts of the program unclassified within the next three to four months, according to O'Connell.