The Insider

By Dan Dupont
May 31, 2011 at 4:06 PM

The Defense Science Board is at work on a slate of new and interesting studies, on "resilient" military systems and cybersecurity and reliability in the cloud. We've got the terms of reference memos below.

DSB head Paul Kaminski talked about the two efforts a few months ago. From our story:

Kaminski told reporters . . . that the move to the cloud comes with "a lot of pluses, probably some cons that we need to understand as we go into this." He said the government believes that moving toward cloud computing will help create a better security environment while reducing costs.

The Obama administration cited a shift to a cloud-first policy as one of the major tenets in its proposed reform of IT management. In a Dec. 9 implementation plan, the federal chief information officer directed all agencies, including the Defense Department, to identify within three months of the mandate three services it "must move" to the cloud. One of those services must be moved to the cloud within a year, and the remaining two have to be shifted over within 18 months. The federal CIO also plans to publish a strategy to "accelerate the safe and secure adoption of cloud computing across the government" by the summer, according to the implementation plan.

The second task force, Kaminski said, will ask "Can we begin to define some meaningful metrics associated with the resilience of performing our mission, which is dependent upon our supporting IT systems?" The goal behind the study is is to assess ways to measure resilience and to come up with "output metrics."

In an interview with Inside the Pentagon following the breakfast, Kaminski said output metrics include the quality of work being produced and the reliability of a product.

Today, he said, the military lacks such metrics. "I come to you and say, 'Man, I got a whole bunch of tools that are going to improve your cybersecurity, and it's only going to cost you $300 million,'" Kaminski said, as an example. "You ask me, 'Well, how do I know it's going to be better?' And I say, 'Trust me.'"

Better metrics, he added, will benefit military test and evaluation teams, among others in the Pentagon. "Different missions are going to require perhaps some different measures of resilience," Kaminski said. "In fact, resiliency in accomplishing the mission in the end -- that you want to get some handle on."

The documents:

DSB Terms Of Reference Memo On 'Resilient Military Systems'

In a May 19, 2011, memo, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn calls for the establishment of a Defense Science Board task force "to assess issues affecting the resiliency of military systems that rely on information and communication technology."

DSB Terms Of Reference Memo On 'Cybersecurity And Reliability In A Digital Cloud'

In a May 19, 2011, memo, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn calls for the establishment of a Defense Science Board task force "to evaluate all aspects of providing reliable, secure and responsive services for military and intelligence applications using these technologies."

By Jason Sherman
May 27, 2011 at 7:46 PM

The Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System -- a $9 billion program to modernize aircraft and ship communication suites -- will be footing the bill to boost funding for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

As part of the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Bill, the House yesterday approved an amendment to pump an additional $2.5 million into the nuclear safety panel that would pay for the hike by a corresponding cut to the AMF JTRS program, a decrement proposed a month after the Pentagon disclosed a 14-month program delay.

Proposed by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and adopted by a voice vote as part of a block of amendments, the provision would boost funding for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. In a statement, Sanchez described the panel as “an independent federal agency that ensures the readiness of the United States nuclear arsenal and provides safety oversight to the [Energy Department-operated] nuclear weapons complex.”

By John Liang
May 27, 2011 at 3:28 PM

The Navy recently issued its "Strategic Language List," according to a service memo. The list's intent "is to inform the Navy total force of [the] Navy's foreign language requirements. The list is used to shape foreign language capability and capacity in the force, prioritize development of related training, and facilitate administration of [the] Navy's Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus (FLPB) Program," the missive states.

The memo, obtained by the website, divides the Navy's language requirements into three categories: immediate, emerging and enduring languages. The top two:


Arabic – Iraqi (QAI)
Arabic – Yemeni (AU/QAY)
Baluchi (BT/BAL)
Pashto-Afghan (Pushtu) (PV/PBT)
Persian-Afghan (Dari) (PG/PRS)
Persian-Iranian (Farsi) (PF/PES)
Somali (SM/SOM)
Swahili (SW/SWA)
Urdu (UR/URD)


Amharic (AC/AMH)
Arabic – Sudanese (AV/APD)
Armenian (AR/HYE)
Azerbaijani (AX/AZE)
Bambara (BA/BAM)
Bengali (BN/BEN)
Divehi (DV/DIV)
Fulani (FV/FUL)
Gujarati (GW/GUJ)
Hindi (HJ/HIN)
Kazakh (KE/KAZ)
Krio (KW/KRI)
Lingala (LJ/LIN)
Madurese (MD/MAD)
Marathi (MR/MAR)
Nepalese (NE/NEP)
Punjabi (PJ/PAN)
Sindhi (SD/SND)
Singhalese (SJ/SIN)
Tadjik (TB/TGK)
Tamazight (TZM)
Tamil (TC/TAM)
Telugu (TE/TEL)
Tigrinya (TL/TIR)
Uighur (UJ/UIG)
Ukrainian (UK/UKR)
Uzbek (UX/UZB)
Wolof (WQ/WOL)

Congress in the past has tried to tinker with how the Pentagon conducts its language training programs. In 2009, House authorizers included language in the fiscal year 2010 defense bill that directed the Defense Department to carry out a pilot program to establish and evaluate language training centers for the military, including members of the reserve component and the Reserve officers' training corps and civilian employees, Inside the Pentagon reported in September of that year:

The legislation would require the establishment of at least three language training centers at accredited universities, senior military colleges or other similar institutions of higher education, not later than October 1, 2010. The bill calls on Defense Secretary Robert Gates to submit a report to the congressional defense committees not later than December 31, 2015, evaluating the pilot program. The Senate has no corresponding provision.

The Pentagon, though, resisted that effort, arguing the effort would siphon money from higher-priority defense language programs. As ITP reported at the time:

In a Sept. 4 appeal to Congress, the department opposes the House provision because it would require "the expenditure of already limited resources," including funding and personnel for oversight and management, "to the detriment of higher priority defense language programs."

The provision does not allocate any funding to establish the pilot program and language training center, the appeal complains. This lack of additional resourcing would "negatively impact" existing defense language program resources, DOD argues. It would be similar to the pilot program for foreign language proficiency training for reserve members mandated by the FY-09 National Defense Authorization Act that DOD funded through other programs, adds the Pentagon.

"Additionally, program management and oversight are also major considerations, because experiences in our Language Flagship and Grant programs demonstrate that the department would have to outsource and/or create new positions to provide the required management and oversight of this new pilot program," argues the appeal.

By Christopher J. Castelli
May 27, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Late yesterday, a month after President Obama announced his intentions, the White House sent the Senate the nominations for Leon Panetta to replace Robert Gates as defense secretary and Gen. David Petraeus to replace Panetta as head of the CIA. The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to schedule a confirmation hearing for Panetta in the near future, paving the way for prompt Senate confirmation. Panetta is slated to take over at the Pentagon immediately after Gates retires June 30. Petraeus, who is also subject to Senate confirmation, would retire from the military and lead the CIA as a civilian, starting the job by September, according to the administration.

By John Liang
May 26, 2011 at 6:42 PM

The full House just approved the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill by a 322-96 vote.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon later released a statement on the bill:

This year's defense authorization bill meets the national security needs of a nation at war while preparing our warfighters for the threats of tomorrow. With the tough fiscal times facing our country, the bill treats every taxpayer dollar as precious. Sound fiscal stewardship is essential to protecting our national security. We address the breathtaking size and scope of our national security challenges by providing for the common defense in an efficient, fiscally responsible manner.

This bill mandates fiscal responsibility within the Department of Defense. It cuts wasteful programs and redirects those savings to higher priorities. The bill makes timely and necessary investments in military equipment and weapons systems.  As we work to ensure America’s strength endures in the 21st century, the bill seriously examines emerging threats from China, North Korea, Iran and in cyberspace.

Most importantly to me, this bill reflects the best efforts of the Armed Services Committee and the whole House to honor the service of our military personnel, veterans and their families. Accordingly, the bill boosts military pay and protects TRICARE from steep increases in the future.

This bill would not have been possible without the dedication and professionalism of my friend, Ranking Member Adam Smith. I also want to thank our subcommittee chairmen, all the members of the Committee and the staff for their tireless efforts on behalf of the men and women of our armed services.

By Christopher J. Castelli
May 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Today in Deauville, France, President Obama and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev announced several new key agreements, including a joint statement on counterterrorism cooperation and a joint report on the assessment of 21st-century missile challenges.

The counterterrorism agreement calls for focusing on “all aspects of this challenge through cooperative actions of law enforcement, transportation security, intelligence sharing, terrorism finance, counterterrorism technology, and within the framework of multilateral fora such as the United Nations, Group of Eight, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the soon-to-be established Global Counterterrorism Forum.”

The missile report is the product of the joint threat assessment work outlined in the joint statements of Obama and Medvedev dated April 1 and July 6, 2009. “The two-year process entailed expert-level exchanges between U.S. and Russian security experts,” the White House said in a fact sheet, noting this process was chaired by acting Assistant Secretary of State Vann Van Diepen and Deputy Secretary of the Security Council Valeriy Nazarov and Assistant to the Secretary of the Security Council Yevgeniy Lukyanov.

The new agreements also include a joint statement on broad cooperation in the Bering Strait region.

This year's Group of 8 summit is being held in Deauville.

By John Liang
May 25, 2011 at 9:17 PM

The Associated Press is citing two unnamed sources as saying that President Obama has decided to nominate Army Gen. Martin Dempsey to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Obama is traveling in Europe this week, and is not expected to publicly announce his choice until next week.

By John Liang
May 25, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disasters in Japan have had a variable amount of impact on that country's ability to cooperate with the United States on missile defense, the head of the Missile Defense Agency told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee this morning.

When asked by subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) regarding the effects of recent events in Japan, MDA Director Lt. Gen. Partick O'Reilly responded:

They have been outstanding partners to work with, meet every commitment and are very meticulous in their planning and it's made it very helpful for us to work together in the fashion which we have.

Regarding the tsunami and earthquake, it did not interrupt the operations of our major activity in Nagoya with MHI -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. Some of their subcontractors were affected. They were not stopped; it slowed down some deliveries. We do not anticipate nor does the Japanese government that this will effect the ultimate delivery of the program.

But in that regard, we do rely outside that program on some of the foundries in Japan that develop our focal plane arrays. And they have been affected by their proximity to their nuclear power plant. And we are concerned about that and we work closely with them, but that is an ongoing concern of our reliance on only one or two foundries around the world to produce these focal plane arrays that have wide application beyond just missile defense.

By Christopher J. Castelli
May 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM

The Army has sent Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) a May 10 letter acknowledging congressional concerns about the potential impact of the service's combat vehicle modernization plans on the industrial base, but offering no detail on the substance of lawmakers' complaints.

The Army letter comes in response to a May 6 letter from nearly 140 members of Congress urging Army Secretary John McHugh to reconsider the service's plans to cease buying Abrams tanks for three years.

"An inquiry into this matter has been initiated," states the reply from the office of the Army's legislative liaison. But a service official said that is boilerplate language used in countless Army letters to lawmakers acknowledging the receipt of congressional letters on a wide range of subjects.

By John Liang
May 24, 2011 at 8:17 PM

The White House this afternoon released a statement of administration policy on the House version of the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill. The Obama administration threatens to veto the bill if it includes language regarding an extra engine in the F-35 program; impinges on the president's authority to implement the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and set nuclear weapons policy; or "recharacterizes" the administration's scope on detainee matters.

Read the full statement.

By John Liang
May 24, 2011 at 7:23 PM

The Aerospace Industries Association just released a report on defense investment that, according to an AIA statement, "takes a historical look at spending in the investment accounts and the ebb and flow of spending since the 1970s. It concludes that our nation and its military members pay a large price when we decrease spending on procurement and research and development." Further, the statement reads:

Defense investment accounts not only support current operations, they also ensure that our troops will always have the tactical advantage of technological superiority, according to a new report released by AIA.

"We all recognize the need to address the nation's debt and deficit spending," said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey at a Senate Aerospace Luncheon. "On the surface, defense investments are easy reductions. But with a worldwide mission and a limited number of service members, we must make up in technological capability what we lack in numbers." . . .

"Americans can be proud that the products used by men and women in uniform are the best in the world," Blakey said. "These systems provide our military with an unparalleled battlefield advantage -- they certainly deserve no less."

That said, the report itself finds that DOD investment accounts -- "including procurement and research and development -- are often cut first when the defense budget comes under fire." Further, according to the report:

On the surface, they are the easy reductions that do not involve urgent present needs as do personnel, force structure, benefits, or operations and maintenance. But as this report shows, with a worldwide mission and in the absence of more service members, our force must be better empowered by technology. The investment accounts not only support current operations -- as we are witnessing every day -- they also provide the future capabilities needed to address threats that may emerge and ensure that our forces will always have the tactical advantage that technological superiority provides. Americans will not accept less.

The report recommends 35 percent of the budget devoted to modernization accounts, as a prudent and affordable level for supporting the force of today and the future, according to AIA.

"The U.S. defense industry remains a key strategic asset for the United States," Blakey said in the statement. "However, it is an asset that must be managed, maintained and sustained to ensure our service members are equipped to succeed under the most demanding circumstances."

By Christopher J. Castelli
May 24, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, due to step down next month, made a conscious choice to avoid recommending cuts to specific defense programs in a speech today at the American Enterprise Institute, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

"The comprehensive budget review the secretary launched last week is designed to identify specific cuts and consequences for the president's consideration," Morrell said. "He does not want to get out ahead of that process and constrain the review team's thinking. He has granted them wide latitude and does not want to hamstring them in any way."

Gates reiterated that certain programs -- including the procurement of new tankers, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, ships and nuclear ballistic missile subs -- must continue. He said efforts to cut overhead have not gone far enough. And he called for reviewing the military's force structure while managing risk.

By Thomas Duffy
May 24, 2011 at 3:00 PM

The House Rules Committee will meet this afternoon to consider the amendment process for the House Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill. That bill may be considered on the House floor this week.

Last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), the committee's chairman, sent out a "dear colleague" letter spelling out how each House member can offer an amendment to the bill without violating the House Republican Conference's earmark ban. As part of the 111th and 112th Congress, the Republican conference agreed to prohibit Republicans from making congressional earmark requests, McKeon said. He then added:

The House Armed Services Committee bill contains no congressional earmarks. Moreover, I will not support any amendments for congressional earmarks during consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 on the House floor.

What will be allowed are budgetary amendments, McKeon told his House colleagues. These amendments are proposals to make specific funding changes to the defense authorization bill "in order to assert congressional priorities in the conduct of U.S. defense policy."

A key point of these amendments is that the Defense Department cannot be directed to spend money "to a specific entity or within a specific locality," McKeon said. All monies have to be spent through a competitive award process, he added.

By Cid Standifer
May 24, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The Navy released its final request for proposals for the Ship-to-Shore Connector on May 20, after repeated delays.

The vessel, alternately referred to in documents as LCAC-100, is slated to replace the fleet's air-cushioned landing craft.

According to updates from Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Chris Johnson, the program took its time working through the bureaucratic process, but, as of April 25, Johnson said the setbacks were not expected to impact the initial operational capability for SSC.

The RFP released last week shows the first batch of four SSCs being delivered in 2016. If all of the extending options of the contract were exercised, the last SSCs would be delivered in 2020.

The Navy has said it expected initial IOC for the SSC in 2019, and to have its LCAC fleet completely replaced by 2030.

At a conference in October, Capt. Walt Towns, head of the Navy's amphibious warfare directorate, said the SSC could still be fielded on time if the RFP were released by the end of 2010. Towns also said that there may be a dip of between 15 and 18 vessels in the transition between LCACs and SSCs.

The draft RFP, which was posted on March 1, said the final copy would be out by the end of that month.

The RFP includes one parameter that appears to have been modified sometime in the past month requiring the weight of the SSC not exceed 180 metric tons. According to the RFP, the contractor will owe the government $110,000 per craft for every ton over 180 the vessel weighs, up to a penalty of $1 million.

The RFP also asks that offerors address the issue of total ownership cost for the craft in their bids. “Offerors shall describe the top three design and engineering Total Ownership Costs (TOC) reduction initiatives inherent in their approach to developing the SSC Detail Design,” the proposal stipulates. “Offerors shall provide supporting rationale, including design trade-offs and key assumptions, to demonstrate the projected likelihood that each TOC reduction will provide a substantial benefit to the Government, assuming 150 annual operating hours per craft and a 30 year service life.”

The RFP says companies should emphasize total ownership cost while designing and building a test and training craft. The total ownership cost-reduction strategies are included in the RFP's evaluation criteria, with credit being given to the proposals evaluators believe are most likely to benefit the government.

Responses to the RFP are due by June 20.

By Christopher J. Castelli
May 23, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is warning against sharply reducing U.S. commitments abroad and the size and capabilities of the military, while underscoring the need for some cuts in Defense Department overhead, personnel costs, missions and capabilities.

“The lessons of history tell us we must not diminish our ability or our determination to deal with the threats and challenges on the horizon, because ultimately they will need to be confronted,” he warned Sunday in a commencement speech at Notre Dame.

“Now to be sure, a strong military cannot exist without a strong economy underpinning it,” he added. “At some point fiscal insolvency at home translates into strategic insolvency abroad. As part of America getting its financial house in order, the size of our defense budget must be addressed. That means culling more bureaucratic excess and overhead, taking a hard look at personnel and costs, and reexamining missions and capabilities to separate the desirable or optional from the essential.”