The Insider

By John Liang
December 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

U.S. Joint Forces Command plans to conduct an "All Things Missile" proof of concept event this week in Suffolk, VA, according to a command statement. JFCOM will partner with U.S. Strategic Command and other "service partners" to develop a "Joint Training Environment."


The consolidated training environment brings together the currently separate simulation environments of Survivable; Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack Assessment; Ballistic Missile Defense Systems and Tactical Engagement Simulations, to create a joint training environment which is "All Things Missile."

By Christopher J. Castelli
December 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, says he has secured more than $100 million in the fiscal year 2010 defense appropriations bill for the continuation of the mission systems work on Lockheed Martin's VH-71 presidential helicopter program. The funds are part of the conference agreement for the bill, he said in a Dec. 11 statement.

Earlier this year, Hinchey secured $485.2 million in the House's version of the bill, but Senate appropriators did not recommend any funds for the VH-71 program, which the Pentagon terminated this year. During the conference process, senators strongly resisted the House position, according to Hinchey.

"Although I was not able to achieve my complete objective, which was to fully continue all aspects of Lockheed Martin's Increment 1 presidential helicopter, this funding will save about 250 jobs in Owego that would have been lost without it," Hinchey said in a statement. "The funding included in the conference agreement will help ensure that $1 billion already spent to develop the necessary mission systems technology for the next presidential helicopter does not go to waste. The agreement ensures that the VH-71 remains a viable contender to replace the current fleet as the administration considers new options. I will continue to do all that I can to support this program this year and in next year's appropriations process."

The Defense Department expects to restart the acquisition process for the new presidential helicopter program next spring, stressing realistic requirements and improved affordability, Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter said last month.

By Sebastian Sprenger
December 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Eric Edelman, Pentagon policy chief in the George W. Bush administration, will soon be in a position to dissect the work of his immediate successor, Michèle Flournoy, on the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Edelman is one of two picks announced today by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) to serve on a congressionally mandated panel charged with critiquing the results of the ongoing review.

Former Republican senator from Missouri, Jim Talent, is McKeon's second pick. Talent is a distinguished fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) is expected to follow suit with the announcement of his two picks "soon," which could be as early as today, panel spokeswoman Lara Battles tells us.

By John Liang
December 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Thinking about getting into the unmanned aerial systems market? It may be tough -- but it can be done, according to a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan:

Defense companies that wish to claim a stake in the intensely competitive unmanned aircraft system (UAS) market will find the task challenging. Mature technologies, coupled with increasing consolidation, are making the UAS market a difficult space to enter. These challenges are not likely to hold back the market, especially with the Department of Defense's (DoD's) demand for UAS at an all-time high due to the ongoing war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


"By focusing on UAS subsystems, the U.S. defense industry will still be able to take advantage of a market space that is rapidly changing both technologically and competitively," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Lindsay Voss. "Six years after the onset of rapid UAS procurement, the U.S. DoD is still demanding more persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets in the air. This ensures growth in the UAS space while many other areas of aerospace and defense are contracting."

But while the "overwhelming demand for constant ISR from warfighters has kicked the UAS market into overdrive, stimulating dramatic growth for key UAS companies," don't think it will be an easy market to get into, the Frost & Sullivan statement reads:

New participants are not likely to find the going as easy as the entrenched competitors. Companies that could provide an 80 percent UAS solution ten years ago dominate the market today across all key platform categories. Market domination by well-established companies has already driven some participants out of the market and forced others to diversify their product and/or service offerings.

"Diversification is proving to be an important strategy as new market participants seek to be profitable in the UAS space," observes Voss. "Companies that are able to offer value to their military customers through current product offerings while expanding into key UAS market sub-segments are improving their competitive positions."

Inside the Pentagon had a UAS-related story in this week's issue:

JROC To Review ICDs For Air Force UAS Flight Plan, MQ-X In Early 2010
The Joint Requirements Oversight Council is slated early next year to review two key initiatives tied to Air Force efforts to bolster unmanned aerial system capabilities on the battlefield, a service official tells Inside the Pentagon.

Service officials expect to brief the JROC, which is headed by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, on the initial capabilities documents (ICDs) for its UAS flight plan and its next-generation UAS, dubbed MQ-X, according to the official.

“The MQ-X initial capabilities document, we are doing a little rewrite on that and take it back through,” the official said. “It will be the same timing as the flight plan ICD, and my guess ((is)) it will hit the JROC around February or March.”

By Marcus Weisgerber
December 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

EADS North America CEO Sean O'Keefe said his company fully backs Northrop Grumman's decision not to participate in the Air Force's next-generation tanker program unless changes are made to the draft request for proposals.

Earlier this month, Northrop Grumman President and Chief Operating Officer Wes Bush told top Pentagon officials the Air Force response to hundreds of industry questions about the latest competition’s draft request for proposals “suggests that the department is not planning to substantially address our concerns.”

“Based on that assessment, we don't appear to have an asset that will answer the requirements as now stated,” O'Keefe said at a breakfast with a group of reporters this morning in Washington.. “This is not a negotiating ploy.”

Northrop Grumman and rival Boeing separately met with the Air Force KC-X program officers at Wright Patterson Air Force Base earlier this week.

“We're heartened by the fact that the response to this has been that the Defense Department has taken that as a serious indicator,” O'Keefe said. “They've invited the opportunity to sit down and review the issues.”

O'Keefe said the Northrop-EADS team believes the Air Force will release the final request for proposals in mid-January.

By Sebastian Sprenger
December 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Newly minted Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates will take the helm of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization on Dec. 30, according to JIEDDO spokeswoman Irene Smith. Oates is the former commander of the 10th Mountain Division (Light) and Ft. Drum, NY. He succeeds Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, who is retiring.

Oates comes on board at JIEDDO as defense officials rethink their approach to countering IEDs. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last month established a department-wide IED task force of Defense Department leaders that could very well reassign some crucial authorities among the various organizations involved in keeping U.S. forces safe from the hidden bombs.

For Oates, those developments should make for an interesting job.

By Marjorie Censer
December 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli today corrected a statement he made at a July hearing before House Armed Services subcommittees about supplemental funding limitations for equipment recapitalization.

As Inside the Army reported at the time, Chiarelli told lawmakers at a July 9 hearing that White House Office of Management and Budget guidance had changed the rules for overseas contingency operations spending -- as supplemental funds are now known -- in fiscal year 2010.

“As a general rule, we will not be able to bring back and recap -- and that means add upgrades to equipment -- in 2010,” Chiarelli told members of the House Armed Services readiness, air and land forces and seapower and expeditionary forces subcommittees. “We’re still doing it in 2009, and we will continue to do it throughout this year. But when we start executing the FY-10 program, the new OCO rules do not allow recap of equipment as a general rule.”

However, at today's hearing before the same subcommittees, Chiarelli said he provided inaccurate information in July, adding that, in fact, current rules do allow the Army to use OCO funding to recap or upgrade equipment returning from theater.

By John Liang
December 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

President Obama has nominated Sharon Burke to become the Defense Department's director of operational energy plans and programs, the White House announced today.

According to her bio as released by the administration:

Sharon E. Burke has had more than twenty years of experience as a national security and energy security professional, including service in the Federal government and non-profit organizations. Currently, she is a Vice President at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington-D.C.-based national security research center. At CNAS, Ms. Burke focuses on "Natural Security," a program she originated that examines the national security implications of global natural resources supplies. In that capacity, she has published several studies on energy security and climate change. Previously, she served as a high-level advisor in the United States government, including as a Member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State, a Country Director in the Department of Defense, and a speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense. She also worked in the Energy and Materials program of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment. Ms. Burke graduated from Williams College and was a Zuckerman Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she focused on international energy policy and earned a Certificate of Middle Eastern Studies.

By Kate Brannen
December 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters traveling with him to Afghanistan yesterday that President Obama's decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to the country will not lead to shorter dwell times for the Army or the Marines. However, he confirmed that it would delay the Army's plans to get "back in balance" by 2011.

Gates said Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway thinks the Marines will still be able to meet their goals for restoring balance -- increasing the length of time spent at home between deployments.

"It'll be a harder push for the Army, but it'll -- they will still head in the right direction," said Gates. "It'll just be slower getting to the one to two for the Army."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey's stated goal for fiscal year 2011 has the active force staying for two years at home for every one year deployed, and the reserve component spending four years in “dwell” for every one year deployed.

The goal remains, but with the decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, at least 30 percent of the active force will not meet that goal by 2011, Inside the Army reports this week.

Gates also said that certain “enabling forces” in high demand will most likely not see much relief in the deployment/dwell cycle.

"The one exception and the one area that we worry about in some of the forces that are the most stretched are some of those ((that)) we call the enablers -- the helicopters, the intelligence, the counter-((improvised explosive device)), road clearance, engineers," said Gates. "Some of these specialists are pushed pretty hard."

By John Liang
December 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

With the White House yesterday releasing its open government directive, the Defense Department today issued its own statement highlighting DOD's efforts to keep the public apprised if its activities.

Specifically, the Pentagon last week completed the transition from its old home page to its new home page.


The new Web site provides quick access to information that is most sought by Web site visitors, including DOD social media sites, the Pentagon Channel and DOD news stories. Prominent on the new home page is a new "We Want to Hear From You" that allows visitors to ask questions about the DOD and explore frequently asked questions and answers.

The site also includes an easy-to-use central listing of dozens of Web sites maintained by different offices of the DoD and the military services, listed both by topic and organization. The index is available at , and makes it easy for the public to find information on topics ranging from military budgets and manpower to a database of defense-related imagery (photos and videos).

By Thomas Duffy
December 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the House Armed Services Committee this morning he does not anticipate having to ask for more forces beyond the 30,000 additional troops President Obama recently committed to the war.

“I do not anticipate the requirement for additional forces, but I will have the responsibility to give my best military advice,” McChrystal said in response to a question from committee Ranking Member Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA).

McKeon also tried to get McChrystal to state how many extra troops he asked Obama to approve; the general would not bite. McChrystal did say he asked for forces to be deployed as quickly as possible and that 30,000 was the amount that fit.

McChrystal said he would provide the committee the exact number he asked for in a classified session. He added that he made no recommendation on a withdrawal date either. In his speech at West Point last week, Obama said the U.S. military would begin to withdraw forces starting in July 2011. In congressional testimony last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said any decision to remove troops will be contingent on how the war is going at the time.

By John Liang
December 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The past year hasn't been so bad for the aerospace and defense industry, according to Aerospace Industries Association CEO Marion Blakey.

"As with most sectors of our economy, the aerospace and defense industry has found the business climate in 2009 very challenging," Blakey writes in today's AIA "Daily Lead" newswire service. "But it is fair to say that A&D has proved its mettle by delivering generally positive results each quarter, with a year-end sales increase still projected. Industry leaders can take credit for applying hard-learned lessons of the past to build a solid foundation that is helping us weather a difficult period."

Blakey continues:

Many analysts believe we will be faced by flat or declining defense aerospace R&D and procurement funding in the coming year, despite the new Defense Department team's recognition of industry's increasing concerns about the defense industrial base. Obtaining adequate funding for the Next Generation Air Transportation System and our manned space program are important, yet uncompleted, priorities.

However, long overdue initiatives to modernize the export control system will enhance interoperability with our allies and make us more competitive. And the first-ever National Aerospace Day Sept. 16 successfully highlighted the contributions of our industry to our economy and national security and put a face on the 844,000 workers who contribute day-in and day-out to make us strong. The tagline of our advocacy outreach says it all simply, but eloquently: Aerospace and Defense – the Strength to Lift America.

Shaun McDougall, international military markets analyst for Forecast International, isn't as optimistic, however.

In a press release today, FI announces:

After years of unprecedented growth, the pace of overall U.S. defense spending appears to have reached a plateau, and will likely commence a steady decline in the coming years. That is not to say that the Pentagon's base budget is due for major cuts in the near term, however. Rather, the basis for this anticipated downturn is a shifting security environment overseas, particularly in Iraq.

Indeed, of the total funding obligated for military operations overseas since 2001, over 76 percent was spent in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The U.S. now has an exit strategy in place, and plans to remove its combat forces from Iraq by August 2010, and all remaining personnel by 2011.

According to Forecast International's latest analysis of the U.S. defense market, "Redeploying U.S. assets in Iraq will be a complex and costly process, and the need to repair or replace equipment damaged or lost in theater will only add to the near-term investment. Nevertheless, the report adds that as combat operations wind down and troops leave Iraq by the thousands, the overall financial burden on the U.S. will slowly begin to ease.

By Sebastian Sprenger
December 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department is still eying a supply route to Afghanistan through China in addition to the existing northern and southern supply networks. Officials are timid when it comes to describing where negotiations with the Chinese stand. It appears, though, that the matter is progressing rather slowly.

In interview over the summer, U.S. Central Command logistics chief Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Down told Military Logistics Forum a China route would come in handy to transport "gear and vehicles" from the Pacific, and talks to that end involving the State Department and U.S. Pacific Command were under way.

A DOD spokeswoman would only say the situation hasn't changed since the summer, without elaborating.

One source with knowledge of the matter said Chinese economic interests could factor into how this plays out. China operates a copper mine in Logar province, south of Kabul. And Beijing was expected to build a rail connection into Badakshan province, whose thin northeastern arm provides the only border with Western China. Such a connection, the source said, is a prerequisite to making a trans-China route possible.

By John Liang
December 8, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The White House today issued a directive to all federal agencies to "take specific actions to open their operations to the public," according to a statement on the Office of Management and Budget Web site:

The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration are at the heart of this directive. Transparency promotes accountability. Participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise to government initiatives. Collaboration improves the effectiveness of government by encouraging partnerships and cooperation within the federal government, across levels of government, and between the government and private institutions.

According to the directive itself:

This Open Government Directive establishes deadlines for action. But because of the presumption of openness that the President has endorsed, agencies are encouraged to advance their open government initiatives well ahead of those deadlines. In addition to the steps delineated in this memorandum, Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this year issued new guidelines for agencies with regard to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). With those guidelines, the Attorney General reinforced the principle that openness is the Federal Government’s default position for FOIA issues.

The directive "promises further steps to come," Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists writes on his Secrecy News blog:

So, for example, within 45 days each agency is obliged to publish online "at least three high-value data sets" that have not been previously available online. Within 60 days, each agency must establish a portal for public access to its open government activities, including provision for public feedback and input. Within 90 days, OMB will issue guidance on the use of new incentives to promote further openness.

The new directive does not extend to classified national security information or controlled unclassified information, both of which are to be addressed in other pending executive orders. But it does direct agencies to reduce any backlogs in Freedom of Information Act requests "by ten percent each year."

Significantly, the new open government policy directive did not emerge from the exercise of "checks and balances" by the other branches of government. Congress did not urge the Administration to promote a culture of openness, much less compel its adoption. Instead, it is a unilateral executive branch effort, akin in its conception to Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary's landmark Openness Initiative of the 1990s, but now extended for the first time to the entire executive branch.

Success is not guaranteed.

The previous Administration used to invoke the theory of "the unitary executive," which generally holds that all executive branch power and authority is vested in the President. But the opposite may be closer to the real state of affairs, in the sense that the exercise of presidential authority is dependent on innumerable acts of compliance by scattered officials any of whom can, whether through disobedience or incompetence, frustrate the implementation of policy. And the more ambitious the proposed change, the more likely it is to encounter resistance.

By Sebastian Sprenger
December 7, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Department officials this morning released deployment details for the first batch of forces, numbering 16,000, supporting the Afghanistan surge.

An infantry battalion task force, with approximately 1,500 Marines, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., will deploy later this month. Regimental Combat Team-2, headquartered at Camp Lejuene, N.C., will deploy approximately 6,200 Marines in early spring 2010. A Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) headquarters from I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., will deploy approximately 800 Marines in spring 2010.

A Brigade Combat Team (BCT), with approximately 3,400 soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. will deploy in early spring 2010 to conduct a training mission.

Secretary Gates also approved the deployment of approximately 4,100 support forces, which will deploy at various times into spring 2010.

For the record, the announcement also notes that President Obama authorized the troop increase of 30,000 on Nov. 30 -- one day before his public announcement of the plan at West Point.