The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
March 1, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Army will hold a pre-proposal conference on the Ground Combat Vehicle March 15, according to a notice on the program's Web site.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, MI, and attendees are required to register by March 5.

Though attendance is recommended for those who plan to respond to the GCV request for proposals released last week, it is neither required nor a prerequisite for submitting a proposal, the notice states.

"The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum to address questions potential offerors have submitted regarding the GCV RFP," the document adds.

Questions may be submitted by e-mail to the program office between Feb. 26 and March 7, but no verbal questions will be allowed at the conference. Attendees may also submit written questions during the conference's lunch hour. Questions that require extra time will be answered through posts on the GCV Web site.

"The answers to all questions will be available to all potential GCV offerors," the notice says.

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 26, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Army released the long-awaited final version of its Cyberspace Operations Concept Capability Plan 2016-2028 this week. The document offers a clear acknowledgment that the ground service must first improve its own capabilities to fight online. But the authors also included a point of warning that this may not be enough.

"As the vignettes . . . show, the U.S. Army may be required to augment host nation and civil support agencies with CyberOps expertise and capabilities," the Feb. 22 document reads. "The vignettes posit the joint force will provide this augmentation to Army forces since it will exceed the Army’s capacity. However, at present such is far from being a reality. Failure to build this capacity in the joint force will place both mission and lives at risk."

The document also says the ground service's success in cyber operations depends in large part on technology. "Failure to adapt research, development, testing, and acquisition processes to stay apace with technologic advancements will make it difficult, if not impossible, to gain advantage, protect that advantage, and place adversaries at a disadvantage," the plan states.

By Dan Dupont
February 25, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The much-anticipated request for proposals for the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle is out -- or is it?

There's a notice on Federal Business Opportunities to that effect:

The RFP for the GCV TD phase has been released and is available on TACOM PROCNET (, select Warren, MI site. The RFP has several attachments. See to download many of the attachments. Section A of the RFP contains the procedure for requesting the Controlled Unclassified (CUI) and Classified portions of the RFP.

However, as a click on the link shows, the RFP isn't actually posted there.

So try here. And we'll soon have it on our site.

By Dan Dupont
February 25, 2010 at 5:00 AM

An allegedly new logo for the Missile Defense Agency is suddenly a controversial item, for reasons explained -- or not, depending on your viewpoint -- here and here, among many other places.

To recap very briefly: Some see this allegedly new logo as too reminiscent of President Obama's campaign logo, while others see something more nefarious -- akin to a pro-Islamic fundamentalist message, more or less.

We asked MDA spokesman Rick Lehner about it, and here's his e-mailed response, which should (but probably won't) put this issue to rest:

Such a non-issue, am really surprised by the response. It isn't a new MDA logo, its a design we've been using on recruiting materials since 2007 for a more contemporary look for those materials and for the top of our website pages when we redesigned the site last fall. It hasn't replaced the official MDA five-color logo and never will--look at our news releases and fact sheets. And there was certainly no input from anyone outside MDA on any aspect of the design except for the company hired to help with our recruiting materials in 2006.

That last point seems especially important: It was an MDA decision, not something drummed up or hammered down by Obama administration officials.

Way back in 1995, the Army's Space and Strategic Defense Command (now Space and Missile Defense Command) ran into a problem with its new logo, as we reported at the time:

When Lt. Gen. Jay Garner took the helm at the Space and Strategic Defense Command last year, he brought with him a philosophy that SSDC had to better market itself to remain viable in the post-Cold War world. With that philosophy came a new command logo, but Garner's minions don't seem to be taking to it well, says SSDC congressional liaison Renee Stroud.

"Being only human, frustration set in when, after my telephone rang for the 'umpteenth' time it was yet another person on the other end of my fiber optic complaining about the new command logo," Stroud writes in the latest issue of The Eagle, SSDC's in-house newspaper.

Outside SSDC, however, the response has been positive. "The logo was intended to be used externally to attract attention," Stroud states. "As our primary marketing symbol, the logo has been the recipient of praise and admiration from graphics and marketing people as well as folks on Capitol Hill. It was designed to encourage people to pick up the briefing or brochure that is often left behind, long after our message has been delivered."

So, to all those doubters, Stroud offers a detailed explanation of the logo's meaning. It features an eagle that is suppose to symbolize patriotism, but the eagle's expression -- that's right, the eagle's expression -- signifies determination. And the eagle is portrayed as only "slightly touching" the Earth to show that "our mission is never complete," Stroud says.

All this against a space background, to show that SSDC is the Army's focal point for space. "Not many people or organizations external to ours know or understand that fact," Stroud writes.

The logo, unveiled about two months ago, was a difficult project, Stroud says, but has not been extremely popular. And so she wonders if the successful "birth" of the logo "has turned into a postpartum depression. Every time the telephone rings I have to wonder, after picking up the receiver, if I may have born for my colleagues a 'misunderstood child.'"

By John Liang
February 24, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The National Defense Strategy and the National Intelligence Strategy are two separate reports that at least one lawmaker would like to see joined into a single document.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced an amendment to the fiscal year 2010 intelligence authorization bill -- still under consideration by the House -- that "would require the (Director of National Intelligence) and Defense Secretary to work together to develop and implement a combined National and Defense Intelligence Strategy in place of the current separate strategies."

Specifically, according to the amendment, the combined strategy should:

(1) encompass a period of three to five years;
(2) incorporate objectives and goals that are measurable, timely and show direct linkage to the national security strategy referred to in section 108;
(3) incorporate and describe the development and time line for an associated implementation plan encompassing both the Military Intelligence Program and the National Intelligence Program; and
(4) address and monitor other programs that may impact the intelligence community.

The amendment calls for the defense secretary and DNI to update the joint strategy "at least every three years" and to submit an annual report on "the progress toward achieving the strategy."

Among the other amendments posted to the House Rules Committee's Web site as of last night include one from Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) that calls on the intelligence community's inspector general "to analyze the problem of over-classification of intelligence," according to a summary posted on the site. The amendment "requires a report to Congress on the importance of protecting sources and methods while providing law enforcement and the public with as much access to information as possible."

Another one from Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) would "require a report to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence on the feasibility and advisability of creating a space intelligence office to manage space-related intelligence assets."

Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) submitted an amendment that would "require the DNI to report to the congressional intelligence committees on the threat posed by the missile arsenal of to allies and interests of the in the Persian Gulf."

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 24, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Defense Department officials today issued an interim rule implementing a section of the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009 aimed at increasing competition among contractors vying for major Pentagon orders.

Section 202 of the WSARA requires DOD officials to "ensure competition, or the option of competition," as they formulate their acquisition strategies for major defense programs. The interim rule, like the law, spells out a number of approaches to achieve this, including competitive prototyping, "dual sourcing" and a widening of the supplier base for a given product.

The interim rule also includes language aimed at forcing prime contractors to consider sources other than themselves when it comes to buying or producing sub-level components.

We asked around about the somewhat curious phrasing of ensuring "the option" of competition in the law. A congressional source explained the intent of the language as such:

The option of competition in the future is a good thing above and beyond competition today. A program can be competed today in such a way that the loser of the competition is locked out of ever competing for the weapon system again for 30 years. The reason the bill language includes the phrase "the option of competition" is that it isn't enough to compete the weapon system on the front end, we also want the department to preserve the option of competition for the future of the system.

The interim rule is in effect immediately, but comments for the drafting of a final rule will be accepted until April 26.

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 23, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today urged an audience of NATO officials to "enhance" the deterrent effect of the alliance's creed, which holds that an attack on one member means an attack on all of NATO.

The alliance's new strategic concept being developed now "must be clear that Article 5 means what it says: an attack on one is an attack on all," Gates said in a speech at the National Defense University this morning. "The concept also must go further to strengthen Article 5's credibility with a firm commitment to enhance deterrence through appropriate contingency planning, military exercises, and force development."

Gates made his comments after mentioning a string of recent Russian activities -- Moscow's " invasion of Georgia" in 2008 and Russian military exercises ("the largest of that type since the collapse of the Soviet Union") near NATO's border in Europe.

"I know that some see a tension between (expeditionary) missions and the core goal of defending the territory of member states from attack," Gates said. " (H)owever, there is no inherent contradiction between force projection and collective defense since just about any conflict will probably require deployable forces."

By Marjorie Censer
February 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Army's brigade combat team modernization plan serves as a "blueprint" for learning both from past failures and past triumphs, Gen. George Casey writes in a new document.

In his 15-page paper, "Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization: Versatile Capabilities for an Uncertain Future," the Army chief of staff lays out the history of BCT-Mod, which replaced Future Combat Systems, as well as the path forward. He confirms much of what Inside the Army has previously reported, including the cancellation of the Class IV unmanned aircraft system program and two variants of the Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment unmanned ground vehicle program as well as the plan to accelerate fielding of capability packages -- specifically, Casey writes, to 29 BCTs by 2016 and to all BCTs by 2025.

He stresses the Army is committed to incorporating Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles into its fleet and to developing and beginning fielding of the Ground Combat Vehicle "within seven years."

"Applying lessons from FCS, Stryker, Bradley and Abrams, we believe our approach to GCV development and procurement will be a model for acquisition reform, with an incremental development approach including competitive prototyping to enable production of the first vehicle by fiscal year 2017," Casey writes. "Capabilities incorporated in subsequent increments will be informed by changes in the security environment and enabled by the maturation of advanced technologies."

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

NATO officials apparently are willing to accept the pass they are being offered on the issue of U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in Europe after a senior Pentagon official said the U.S. government will debate the future of these weapons in the context of the alliance's new strategic concept.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy said earlier this month U.S. officials will not take a unilateral position on the continued need for the forward-deployed atomic bombs in the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, but rather would seek a NATO-wide resolution of the matter.

At issue is whether Washington will keep an estimated 200 nuclear weapons on the continent. The weapons are remnants of a much bigger arsenal once designed to deter Soviet aggression during the height of the Cold War. Several high-ranking European politicians have recently spoken out against the keeping of nuclear weapons in their countries.

"The strategic concept will have to mention nuclear forces one way or the other," Stéphane Abrial, NATO's supreme allied commander for transformation, told reporters this morning. While meetings on the thorny issue are already going on, the matter really rests with the alliance's political -- not military -- decision-making circles, Abrial said.

Work on new NATO strategic concept is supposed to be finished by the end of the year, when alliance leaders meet in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Letitia Long will be the next director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the first woman to lead a major intelligence agency, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced today. Long, the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is uniquely qualified to lead NGA, Gates said.

"Her more than 30 years of engineering and intelligence experience include service as the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, deputy director of Naval Intelligence and as a coordinator of intelligence community activities, for the director of Central Intelligence," he said. Long will take over later this year from Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, Gates said, an "outstanding leader" who was extended to serve a fourth year in the post.

By John Liang
February 19, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Looks like Operation Iraqi Freedom is getting a revamp. Not the operation itself, just the name.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a Feb. 17 memo authorized the remaming of OIF to "Operation New Dawn" beginning Sept. 1, Washington Note reports. According to the memo:

The requested operation name change is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq. Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission. It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Goverment of Iraq.

By John Liang
February 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Missile Defense Agency plans to meet with potential contractors this spring to discuss an effort to marry MDA's digital modeling and simulation training into a coherent whole.

The agency plans to conduct a series of industry days sometime between April and June of this year at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, "to exchange information with interested parties regarding the Objective Simulation Framework (OSF) and improve the understanding of the Government requirements and industry capabilities," a notice posted today on Federal Business Opportunities states. "As part of the Industry Days, potential offerors will have an opportunity to meet with the Government in one-on-one meetings to discuss the OSF."

Lockheed Martin is one of the companies in the beginning stages of figuring out how it will compete for the effort. As Inside Missile Defense reported in January:

The agency late last month published a request for information in Federal Business Opportunities calling for “contractors who are able to design, develop, test, field and maintain an ((Objective Simulation Framework)) that can be used for a variety of applications to include ((Ballistic Missile Defense System)) ground tests and performance assessments.”

John Holly, Lockheed’s vice president of missile defense systems, told reporters in a conference call last week that his company’s “expertise in system engineering, system integration along with a particularly strong effort in terms of modeling and simulation will make us very competitive in that environment.”

“What we’re looking at is what is the right composition of talent to make sure that we provide the MDA customer with the absolute best value at lowest risk,” Holly said on Jan. 7.

When asked whether his company had begun to look at potential subcontractors for the effort, Holly said: "What we’re working toward right now is we will certainly have a collection of highly qualified subcontractors with us; until MDA puts out a draft request for proposals or a final request for proposals we won’t know the exact composition of what that procurement's going to be, so I can't give you an explicit answer that we’re teamed with company XYZ, but we're keeping all of our options open and we are going to actively pursue that particular effort."

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Kicking off what promises to be a busy few days, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will return tomorrow to his old stomping grounds at the CIA for the third time since he retired as director -- and the first time since taking over the Defense Department, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

“Director ((Leon)) Panetta has kindly invited the secretary to come over for a luncheon meeting, after which he will address agency employees,” Morrell told reporters today. Those events will be closed to the press.

On Monday night, Gates will host a dinner in honor of Anders Rasmussen, the secretary-general of NATO, to continue their discussions from the recent NATO defense ministerial meeting in Istanbul. Guests will include the secretary of state, the national security adviser and the U.S. ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder.

Rasmussen is in town for the NATO Strategic Concept seminar. On Tuesday, Gates will give the opening remarks for the seminar at the National Defense University. “The Strategic Concept outlines the alliance's security tasks and guides its future political and military development,” Morrell said. “It is being updated and revitalized to address new challenges that have arisen since the current concept was enacted in 1999. The secretary will talk about the ongoing transformation of NATO from a defensive alliance to a more expeditionary force capable of dealing with a range of traditional and nontraditional threats.”

Later that morning, Gates will open the first meeting of the Council of Governors, which is charged with strengthening the partnership between the federal and state governments to guard against natural disasters and acts of terrorism. Also Tuesday, Gates will meet with the minister of defense from Brazil, Nelson Jobim. “This is their third discussion over the last 14 months and will focus once again on increasing defense cooperation and exchanges between our two countries, specifically defense technology and trade. The ongoing humanitarian operations in Haiti will also be high on the list of discussion points,” Morrell said.

Finally, on Wednesday night, Gates will receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Nixon Center.

By John Liang
February 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The consensus embodied by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is beginning to fray, Vice President Biden warned today.

In a speech at the National Defense University, Biden said the United States is "rallying support for stronger measures to strengthen inspections and punish cheaters" of the NPT. Specifically, he said:

The Treaty’s basic bargain -- that nuclear powers pursue disarmament and non-nuclear states do not acquire such weapons, while gaining access to civilian nuclear technology -- is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime.

Before the treaty was negotiated, President Kennedy predicted a world with up to 20 nuclear powers by the mid-1970s. Because of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the consensus it embodied, that didn’t happen.

Now, 40 years later, that consensus is fraying. We must reinforce this consensus, and strengthen the treaty for the future.

Biden acknowledged the difficulty of negotiating a ban on the production of fissile materials that can be used in nuclear weapons, but said the Conference on Disarmament "must resume its work on this treaty as soon as possible."

The vice president also reiterated the administration's desire to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:

A decade ago, we led this effort to negotiate this treaty in order to keep emerging nuclear states from perfecting their arsenals and to prevent our rivals from pursuing ever more advanced weapons.

We are confident that all reasonable concerns raised about the treaty back then -– concerns about verification and the reliability of our own arsenal - have now been addressed. The test ban treaty is as important as ever.

As President Obama said in Prague, “we cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.”

Some friends in both parties may question aspects of our approach. Some in my own party may have trouble reconciling investments in our nuclear complex with a commitment to arms reduction. Some in the other party may worry we’re relinquishing capabilities that keep our country safe.

With both groups we respectfully disagree. As both the only nation to have used nuclear weapons, and as a strong proponent of non-proliferation, the United States has long embodied a stark but inevitable contradiction. The horror of nuclear conflict may make its occurrence unlikely, but the very existence of nuclear weapons leaves the human race ever at the brink of self-destruction, particularly if the weapons fall into the wrong hands.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter said this morning the Defense Department remains hopeful it will have competition in the Air Force's $35 billion KC-X tanker program, as opposed to having to award a sole-source contract.

DOD believes it has a "fair, transparent, right-down-the-middle approach" to the important and lucrative program, he said at a conference sponsored by Aviation Week.

As recently reported, the Air Force will release a request for proposals for tanker competition no earlier than Feb. 23. Once the RFP is out, Boeing and Northrop Grumman-EADS will have 75 days to respond, according to a Feb. 8 Federal Business Opportunities notice. The service plans to award the KC-X contract in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010.