The Insider

By John Liang
June 30, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Lockheed Martin just announced plans to lay off around 1,500 workers from its aeronautics business unit.

According to the statement:

Lockheed Martin currently has about 28,000 employees at its principal Aeronautics sites in Texas, Georgia and California and at six smaller locations in as many states. Reductions may occur across the enterprise, with the greatest impacts occurring at the larger sites. An organizational assessment will determine how to trim the organization with a target reduction of approximately 1,500 employees.

Ralph D. Heath, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said, "Bold and responsible action is necessary to meet customer expectations and reduce our costs. We are realigning the organization to be more efficient and agile, and a reduction in force will enable us to meet the requirements of our changing business environment."

Lockheed Martin will offer eligible salaried employees an opportunity for a voluntary layoff to minimize the number of involuntary layoffs. We will use a disciplined process to review every organization and position, considering all factors rather than making arbitrary reductions. We expect the greatest impact to be on employees in higher-level labor grades. Employees eligible for voluntary layoffs will be notified in August. An involuntary reduction in force begins in mid-September.

Today's layoffs announcement comes on the heels of the company declaring two weeks ago that it would lay off 1,200 workers from its space systems unit.

By John Liang
June 30, 2011 at 7:37 PM

The Congressional Budget Office today released an assessment of the Pentagon's five-year future years defense program. Among its conclusions:

-- To execute its base-budget plans for the period covered by the 2012 FYDP, DoD would need appropriations totaling about $206 billion (or 8 percent) more over those five years than if funding was held at the 2011 level of $536 billion. Over the 10 years from 2012 to 2021, DoD would need a total of $597 billion (or 11 percent) more than if funding was held at the 2011 level.

-- DoD's base budget would grow at a real (inflation-adjusted) average annual rate of 1.8 percent from 2012 to 2016 and by 0.5 percent from 2016 to 2030. At those rates, DoD's base budget would rise from $554 billion in 2012 to $594 billion in 2016 and to $642 billion in 2030.

-- The primary cause of long-term growth in DoD's budget from 2012 to 2030 would be rising costs for operation and support (O&S), which would account for nearly all of the increase. In particular, CBO projects significant increases in the costs for military and civilian compensation, military health care, and various operation and maintenance activities. O&S costs would grow steadily throughout the projection period, from $350 billion in 2012 to $459 billion in 2030, a growth rate of 1.5 percent per year.

-- That large contribution of operation and support costs to long-term budget growth is a change from the years before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, when sharp growth in anticipated requirements to replace and modernize weapon systems (the so-called bow wave) was the primary factor underlying projected budget growth beyond the years covered by the FYDP. In CBO's current projections, acquisition costs (the costs of developing and procuring weapon systems) would grow steadily from $189 billion in 2012 to a peak of $217 billion in 2019 (an increase of about 14 percent) before decreasing and leveling off -- albeit with year-to-year variations -- at an average of about $197 billion per year through 2030.

By Dan Dupont
June 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

The National Guard Association of the United States is touting unprecedented levels of support in the Senate for its long-running goal of a seat for the Guard director on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a statement issued this morning, NGAUS says thirty senators "now sponsor legislation that would give the National Guard a voice in final resource decisions at the Pentagon."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced the National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act of 2011, S. 1025, in late May. Twenty-eight senators have since signed on as co-sponsors.

The bill includes a provision to give the Guard’s senior officer a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The House approved a similar provision last month, meaning it now only needs Senate approval to be sent to the president, who committed to a Guard “seat at the table” in his 2008 campaign booklet, The Blueprint for America: Barack Obama’s Plan for America.

“Thirty and counting,” said retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the president of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). “This legislation has real momentum because a growing number of lawmakers recognize that the Guard will be increasingly important to the nation’s defense and security, yet still goes largely unrepresented atop the Pentagon.”

A formal role in final resource decisions is part of an ongoing effort by many on Capitol Hill and NGAUS that three years ago elevated the chief of the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon from a three- to a four-star general.

The NGB chief is now invited to participate in some discussions with the Joint Chiefs. However, he does not have a vote in final decisions. Nor does he have the ability to nominate Guard officers for positions that require Senate confirmation.

S. 1025 would enable the NGB chief to sit with the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — none of whom have ever served in the Guard — and give the Guard, for the first time, representation in final deliberations on staffing and resources.

All of the living former NGB chiefs, who were not allowed to support a Guard seat at the table while they served at the Pentagon, have endorsed the legislation.

By John Liang
June 29, 2011 at 6:41 PM

The White House released its national counterterrorism strategy this morning, a document that "formalizes the approach that President Obama and his administration have been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to deliver devastating blows against al Qaeda, including the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden," according to an administration fact sheet. Further:

Rather than defining our entire national security policy, this counterterrorism strategy is one part of President Obama's larger National Security Strategy, which seeks to advance our enduring national security interests, including our security, prosperity, respect for universal values and global cooperation to meet global challenges.

This Strategy builds upon the progress we have made in the decade since 9/11, in partnership with Congress, to build our counterterrorism and homeland security capacity as a nation.  It neither represents a wholesale overhaul -- nor a wholesale retention -- of previous policies and strategies.

By John Liang
June 29, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee this morning was able to establish a quorum and voted to approve 1,603 pending military nominations in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. According to a committee statement, those approved include:

General James D. Thurman, USA for reappointment to the grade of general and to be Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea;

Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, USN to be admiral and Commander, United States Special Operations Command; and

Lieutenant General John R. Allen, USMC to be general and Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces, Afghanistan.

The votes were voice votes, with all nominees en bloc.  All nominations were immediately reported to the floor following the Committee's action.

By John Liang
June 28, 2011 at 8:18 PM

The Senate Intelligence Committee today unanimously approved President Obama's nomination of Army Gen. David Petraeus to succeed Leon Panetta as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

According to a joint statement from committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA):

Gen. Petraeus is an outstanding public servant and one of our country’s finest officers. The committee voted unanimously today to report his nomination to the full Senate. We look forward to a speedy confirmation this week so Gen. Petraeus can take the reins of the CIA at this critical time for our country.

By John Liang
June 28, 2011 at 6:36 PM

The Senate last night passed a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Jim Webb (D-VA) deploring China's harassment of ships in the South China Sea and calling for a peaceful, multilateral resolution to maritime territorial disputes in Southeast Asia. According to a statement from Inhofe's office:

On June 9, three Chinese maritime security vessels ran into and disabled the cables of a Vietnamese exploration ship, the Viking 2, in an area within 200 miles of Vietnam’s continental shelf and recognized under international law to be within Vietnam's Exclusive Economic Zone. This followed similar incidents on May 26 near Vietnam and in March near the Philippines, as well as incidents at sea last year in the Senkaku Islands, which are under the legal administration of Japan.  Following international condemnation of the June 9 incident, China deployed its largest maritime security ship to the South China Sea. Several other countries in the region have also deployed military vessels to the area.

"Over the past twelve months, China has been carrying out calculated acts of naval harassment in the South China Sea," Inhofe said. "Seeing this negative trend which threatens the freedom of navigation as well as the national security interests of the United States and its allies in the region, we introduced this Senate resolution.  China needs a clear message that their continued harassment will no longer be tolerated. I am pleased that the U.S. Senate sent that clear message in a unified manner. It lets Communist China know they must halt their aggressive behavior and return to the pledge made in 2002 to resolve this dispute peacefully."

"A growing number of nations around the South China Sea are now voicing serious concerns about China's pattern of intimidation. These nations include Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as countries such as Singapore that do not have a stake in the territorial disputes," said Webb. "This is a significant development toward fostering a multilateral approach to resolve these territorial disputes in a peaceful manner, respecting the sovereignty of all claimants."

"The United States has a clear strategic interest in facilitating such a multilateral approach, ensuring open access to international waters and air space, and promoting adherence to international law," said Webb.

The resolution passed by the Senate:

(1) reaffirms the strong support of the United States for the peaceful resolution of maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and pledges continued efforts to facilitate a multilateral, peaceful process to resolve these disputes;

(2) deplores the use of force by naval and maritime security vessels from China in the South China Sea;

(3) calls on all parties to the territorial dispute to refrain from threatening force or using force to assert territorial claims; and

(4) supports the continuation of operations by the United States Armed Forces in support of freedom of navigation rights in international waters and air space in the South China Sea.

Inside the Pentagon reported earlier this month of the Defense Department's growing interest in China's military capabilities, despite growing economic ties:

While defense officials publicly insist that the military's new AirSea Battle concept, a study meant to reshape the way the U.S. military fights future wars, is not focused on China, one Navy team is quietly contradicting their claims. The group, called the China Integration Team, is hard at work applying the lessons of the study to a potential conflict with China, say sources familiar with the effort.

Portions of the AirSea Battle concept are classified, and high levels of sensitivity surround the study's connection with China. For both reasons, those who were willing to discuss the study asked to remain anonymous.

According to one source familiar with the effort, the China Integration Team is undertaking exactly what its name suggests -- applying the lessons of the concept specifically "at the China threat."

When asked to confirm the team's existence and mission, the Navy had little to say.

"With respect to an office being stood up to support AirSea Battle or China, I have nothing for you at this time," said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Justin Cole.

But an internal bulletin from the Navy's strategy and policy shop confirms the China Integration Team's existence and its connection with AirSea Battle.

"With the completion of ASB Spiral One development," the bulletin states, referring to the first draft of the study, "ASB responsibilities are shifting from N513," the strategy office that handled the first stage of the study, "to N3/N5 China Integration Team (CIT)."

By John Liang
June 27, 2011 at 4:19 PM

The week before the U.S. and Mexican men's soccer teams clashed in the final of a regional tournament in Pasadena, CA, officials from the Naval War College held a wargaming workshop in Mexico City. According to a college statement:

The U.S. Naval War College's (NWC) War Gaming Department presented a three-day professional development workshop at the Centro de Estudios Superiores Navales (CESNAV) in Mexico City, to share war gaming techniques and expertise. Attendees at the 21-23 June workshop included Mexico Navy, Army, and Air Force officers. The 30 conference attendees watched presentations from NWC War Gaming Department faculty on game uses, design considerations, and post-game analysis.

NWC war gamers Cmdr. Walter Topp, Cmdr. Dustin Martin, and Professor Shawn Burns used a blend of lectures, experiential, and team game development activities. Workshop attendees considered, discussed, and briefed team deliberation results in a plenary forum. Participants were guided through development of two war games to facilitate the experiential learning portion of the workshop. Fictional game scenarios included a Gulf of Mexico oil spill within Mexican territorial waters, and a game focused on an interagency and multinational response to illicit trafficking in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Jason Sherman
June 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM

During a visit to the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University on Friday, President Obama touted the promise of big savings to the national pocketbook from designing defense systems faster and for less money. Exhibit A, he said: Local Motors, a small Arizona company that under a DAPRA contract procured the Experimental Crowd-derived Combat Support Vehicle (XC2V), the first ever crowd-sourced, militarily relevant vehicle design. After checking out the vehicle prototype, which was in Pittsburgh, the president said:

We just took a look at it.  Not only could this change the way the government uses your tax dollars -- because think about it, instead of having a 10-year lead time to develop a piece of equipment with all kinds of changing specs and a moving target, if we were able to collapse the pace at which that manufacturing takes place, that could save taxpayers billions of dollars.  But it also could get products out to theater faster, which could save lives more quickly, and could then be used to transfer into the private sector more rapidly, which means we could get better products and services that we can sell and export around the world.  So it’s good for American companies.  It’s good for American jobs.  It’s good for taxpayers.  And it may save some lives in places like Afghanistan for our soldiers.

Through this program, DARPA looked beyond the traditional domestic defense industry for “innovative ideas for a vehicle body designed to accomplish the critical mission tasks of combat resupply and medical evacuation,” according to the agency. Local Motors was one of more than 150 bidders with designs deemed credible, and delivered its concept vehicle -- which includes a vehicle body and shell -- in less than 14 weeks.

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, in remarks earlier in the day at the same event, said the design approach of the DARPA program could break the prevailing -- and unsustainable -- paradigm of military acquisition efforts, which have considerably less nimble development phases.

Before Eli Whitney had success in with the Cotton Gin, he went to Congress with a proposal to build muskets with interchangeable parts. It was 1801.  He was fairly dramatic in his presentation. Congress, then as now, is pretty skeptical of new ideas.  But Eli had a fairly dramatic way of demonstrating his. He took 10 muskets to Congress.  He disassembled them.  He threw all the parts in a pile.  And then he reassembled them, with different parts constituting each new musket-something that had never before been done. Congress was impressed.  Eventually, the Department of the Army issued a contract for 10,000 new muskets to be built using this method.  It was one of the first widespread uses standardized parts, and it contributed enormously to the advance of in manufacturing in the United States.

Fast-forward a couple hundred years to Norm Augustine, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin.  Norm wrote a book that is well known in defense circles called "Augustine's Laws." One of his laws was that he charted the increase in cost in high-performance jets and tactical aircraft against the increase in the defense budget.  When he plotted these two lines -- and it would not be that different now -- they crossed in 2054.  And what that meant was that in 2054 we would have to spend the entire defense budget to buy one airplane. He observed that that we could work this out.  The Navy would get it for three days a week, the Air Force for three says, and the Marines would have it on Sundays.

Obviously, this kind of rise in manufacturing costs is not sustainable.  But costs have continued to rise at roughly the rate Augustine predicted.  The cost increase in high-performance jets and other advanced equipment has been going up in a linear faction.  And part of the reason, a strong part of it, is the length of time it takes to design and approve them.  The time horizon of design and development is increasing at a similar pace. . . .

DARPA has focused on an advanced manufacturing effort that uses integrated circuits manufacturing as a model for open design and configurable foundries.  And that will lead you to the ability to crowd-source your design, greatly diversifying the sources of your design and the east with which it can be manufactured.  Altogether, we think this can significantly speed up the manufacturing timeline-on the order of dividing it by a factor of five.  That is to say we could do it five times as fast, which could yield enormous cost savings. . . .

This pilot [the XC2V] has the ability to undo Augustine's law and yield advances in manufacturing equivalent to what Eli Whitney ushered in during the early 19th century.  This is indeed the prize for us, for warfighters, and for taxpayers.

By John Liang
June 24, 2011 at 3:31 PM

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to help foster manufacturing innovation among defense contractors. According to a DARPA statement released today:

During an event today at the National Robotics Engineering Center, President Barack Obama addressed the key roles that advanced research in collaboration with government and industry can play in enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing, jumpstarting job creation and the process of bringing ideas to market.

DARPA's Experimental Crowd-derived Combat Support Vehicle (XC2V) was highlighted as an example of the power of collaboration and the democratization of innovation at the event. The XC2V is the first crowd-sourced, militarily relevant vehicle design. The DARPA XC2V effort, asked non-traditional DoD performers, small businesses, universities and the general public to contribute innovative ideas for a vehicle body designed to accomplish the critical mission tasks of combat resupply and medical evacuation. More than 150 credible designs were submitted, with the winning design taking less than fourteen-weeks to build.

By John Liang
June 23, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Earlier this month, Inside the Pentagon reported on a Defense Department study about the Arctic. That assessment identified gaps in the military's Arctic capabilities that could be costly to fix, but stopped short of urging significant investment in high-tech solutions amid a major effort by the White House and the Defense Department to slash security spending over the next decade. Further:

"What we did do was look across the mission sets and identify where we think there are gaps," a defense official said, noting the gaps have to do with "not-very-glamorous" but "really foundational" capabilities like "awareness and communication" that can be "quite costly to invest in, in a really robust kind of way."

DOD will "need to make investments" in these areas "in the coming decade," the official said. But the study's executive summary avoids making investment recommendations to fix DOD's capability gaps and the Coast Guard's shortfall in icebreaking capability.

"Given the many competing demands on DOD's resources in the current fiscal environment, the department believes that further evaluation of operating environment is required before entertaining significant investments in infrastructure or capabilities," the summary states.

The Pentagon is in the midst of developing a strategy for implementing President Obama's call to cut security spending by $400 billion by fiscal year 2023. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said this effort must determine which military missions can be cut without incurring too much risk.

"The Arctic is warming on average twice as fast as the rest of the planet, resulting in increased human activity in the region," the report summary states.

The Arctic is not a "military-lead arena," the defense official said when noting the State Department helped the Pentagon's policy shop prepare the DOD report to Congress on Arctic operations and the Northwest Passage. But the official balked at the notion of eliminating DOD Arctic missions, arguing the capability to operate in the region is vital for defending U.S. territory.

At the time, all we had to share was the report's executive summary.

Now, however, we have the full report.

By Gabe Starosta
June 22, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Boeing today announced its major suppliers for construction of the KC-46A refueling tanker, of which the company plans to deliver 18 combat-ready aircraft by 2017. Those suppliers, and the parts they will provide include:

• Pratt & Whitney: Engines

• GE Aviation: Mission control system

• Goodrich Corp.: Landing gear and interiors

• Parker Aerospace: Several refueling components, plus primary flight controls

• Raytheon: Digital radar warning receiver and anti-jam GPS

• Rockwell Collins: Integrated display and communications system

• Honeywell: Cabin pressure control system, lighting and other parts

• Northrop Grumman: Large Aircraft Countermeasures (LAIRCM)

By John Liang
June 22, 2011 at 6:01 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee will meet next Tuesday to consider three senior command nominations, a panel spokeswoman announced this afternoon in a statement.

The nominations include:

General James D. Thurman, USA for reappointment to the grade of general and to be Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea;

Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, USN to be admiral and Commander, United States Special Operations Command; and

Lieutenant General John R. Allen, USMC to be general and Commander, International Security Assistance Force/Commander, United States Forces, Afghanistan.

By Sebastian Sprenger
June 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM

U.S. military forces operating in the war zone in and around Afghanistan generate an estimated 750 metric tons of hazardous trash every year, and the Pentagon is considering a new approach to getting rid of it, according to notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website last month.

The amount of hazardous trash is just one little nugget of news buried in the May 18 request for information issued by the Defense Logistics Agency. Another is exactly where the prospective trash collectors would have to pick up the DOD waste: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and, yes, Pakistan.

Of course, there aren't officially any bases in Pakistan. But the FBO notice says quite explicitly that the place of performance for any contract would be “U.S. military installations” located in the four countries.

American bases in the countries north of Afghanistan are somewhat well-documented. The Pentagon relies on the governments there, many of them oppressive, to allow for the shipment of war supplies through their countries. But the FBO notices mention of Pakistan led us to ask DLA for more information.

“The wording of the FedBizOpps notice incorrectly infers that Pakistan may be a location where wastes are generated,” spokeswoman Michelle McCaskill wrote in an emailed response. “The notice itself is not an acquisition action but is part of an effort to gain a broad understanding of regional commercial disposal or recycling opportunities. The mention of Pakistan was because it is one of the nations in the region which potentially might be a site for compliant disposal of wastes if a contract was let and if the contractor obtained the necessary clearances and permits and met customs requirements.”

DLA officials are pretty clear about the unique circumstances of their new disposal idea. The RFI simply served to identify the feasibility of an actual contract, “given the potential concerns and difficulties expected to be encountered by contractors when performing such a project in this area of operations,” the document reads.
By John Liang
June 21, 2011 at 9:00 PM

The full Senate just unanimously approved President Obama's nomination of CIA Director Leon Panetta to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary.

Click here to view Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin's floor statement on Panetta's nomination.